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BUSINESS & TECH

Costa Coffee Heats Up China Pot With Local Partner Buyout

By Yang Ge
Whitbread PLC, owner of the Costa coffee chain, said its buyout of its South China partner won’t affect its North China operations, which are conducted through a separate 50-50 joint venture with BHG. Above, a Costa barista makes a cup of coffee at a shop near Manchester, England, on May 5. Photo: Visual China
Whitbread PLC, owner of the Costa coffee chain, said its buyout of its South China partner won’t affect its North China operations, which are conducted through a separate 50-50 joint venture with BHG. Above, a Costa barista makes a cup of coffee at a shop near Manchester, England, on May 5. Photo: Visual China

The owner of the Costa coffee chain has bought out its South China partner, months after larger rival Starbucks Corp. made a similar move as the two companies seek to gain more control over their respective brands and operations in the fast-growing market.

Whitbread PLC said it paid 310 million yuan ($47.0 million) to buy out the 49% of its joint venture owned by local partner Yueda. Following the buyout, Whitbread will own 100% of the company that operates 252 stores in its South China region, which includes 93 stores in Shanghai.

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