Starbucks Coffee International has acquired its licensed operations in Germany from its partner, KarstadtQuelle AG. The wholly-owned subsidiary of Starbucks Corporation announced the transaction yesterday (22 November).

"This transaction underlines KarstadtQuelle's intention to strengthen its focus on its core business," said Dr. Christoph Achenbach, chairman of KarstadtQuelle's board of directors. "We came to a mutually beneficial agreement on the acquisition of the Starbucks business so we can refocus our resources on the development of our core business."

The joint venture between KarstadtQuelle and Starbucks was established in the autumn of 2001 with 82% and 18% respective ownership. In May 2002, the first two Starbucks coffeehouses were opened in Berlin. Starbucks now operates 37 retail locations in 15 German cities.

"One of Starbucks strategic priorities is to increase the company's investment in key markets," said Julio Gutierrez, president of Starbucks Coffee Europe, Middle East and Africa. "This acquisition is in line with our expansion plans and it allows us greater influence over the brand in Germany as we continue to grow in this important market. Germany has the potential to be one of the biggest markets for us in Europe, and we are strongly committed to long-term growth."

This cash purchase is expected to close by the end of this month. The specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The company does not expect this acquisition to impact its financial goals for fiscal 2005.