US firm in talks for Starbucks stake in MENA, Morocco

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US private equity firm Apollo Global Management is in talks to buy a minority stake in the Starbucks franchise operated by the Kuwaiti Alshaya Group in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. Three sources confirmed this to Reuters earlier this week.

Alshaya previously explored selling a 30% stake, and another source indicated the Saudi Public Investment Fund (previously shortlisted) remains in negotiations.

The American coffee chain currently operates around 2,000 stores across 13 countries, including Morocco, in the aforementioned regions. Reuters previously estimated its 2022 value at $4-5 billion.

CEO Laxman Narasimhan has acknowledged facing «headwinds» including an American boycott and increased competitor discounting in China.

Starbucks noted the Israel-Hamas conflict impacted its regional business, leading to lower-than-expected quarterly results.

Last December, Moroccan media reported the departure of H&M and Starbucks (Alshaya franchises) from Morocco. Alshaya denied this, stating their commitment to Morocco and continued operation of all Starbucks cafes there.

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