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Starbucks to take control of over 1,300 Chinese stores

Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks has completed the biggest acquisition in the company's history. Its move in mainland China has been described as a "critical next step" in its global expansion drive.

Starbucks have announced that they have taken control of more than 1,300 stores in 25 Chinese cities, in a deal worth 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), the largest acquisition in the company's history.

The American coffee chain, founded in 1971, is continuing its rapid expansion in Asia, purchasing the remaining 50 percent in a joint venture with Taiwan's food and beverage giant Uni-President.

The deal, which follows an 8.3 percent drop in net earnings this quarter, will see Starbucks add to its 1,500 current stores in China with 1,300 more in Shanghai and the Jiangsu province.

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"Unifying the Starbucks business under a full company-operated structure in China reinforces our commitment to the market," said Johnson, who confirmed plans to double the number of stores in mainland China from 2,800 to 5,000.

Starbucks is planning to create another 240,000 jobs over the next five years as it targets the Chinese market, which is now the most lucrative for the Seattle-based firm.

Meanwhile, Starbucks confirmed it will close 379 "underperforming" Teavana tea shops, which will impact more than 3,000 workers.

Teavana was purchased in 2012, but the company explained in a press release that it foresaw the continuation of the current slump.

rd/hg (AFP, AP, CNN)

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