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Kuwait’s Alshaya in talks to sell Starbucks stake

A Starbucks coffee shop in Beirut, Lebanon. Alshaya operates 2,000 Starbucks branches in 17 countries Reuters/Aziz Taher
A Starbucks coffee shop in Beirut, Lebanon. Alshaya operates 2,000 Starbucks branches in 17 countries

Kuwait’s Alshaya Group is in talks to sell a minority stake in its regional Starbucks business that covers the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia, according to reports.

The Kuwaiti retailer operates 70 brands in 4,000 stores across 18 countries. This includes the franchise for Starbucks, with 2,000 stores in 17 countries. 

US private equity company Apollo Global Management is in line to buy a 30 percent stake in the Starbucks business, Reuters reported, quoting three unnamed sources.

AGBI contacted Alshaya Group, who declined to comment.

The region’s leading brand franchise owner hired JP Morgan in 2021 with a view to selling a significant minority stake in the business. Sources at the time said a 30 percent sale could generate between $4 billion and $5 billion.

In 2022, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) was shortlisted as a potential buyer into the Starbucks franchise. 

According to recent reports the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund is still in talks with Alshaya Group.

The world’s largest coffee chain has suffered from global protests and grassroots boycott campaigns since the start of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, with business in the region down on market expectations in the first quarter. Stories have circulated about Starbucks’ perceived pro-Israel stance but the company has denied this is the case, saying that they “stand for humanity”.

Last month Alshaya Group confirmed that it is scaling back its operations in Egypt due to “the difficulties faced by overseas businesses” in the North African country.

Bloomberg reported that about 60 stores will be closed and around 375 employees laid off.

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