Starbucks close to cafe JV with Tata Coffee - report

MUMBAI Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:30pm IST

A pedestrian walks past the Starbucks logo on a store in Times Square in New York March 8, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

A pedestrian walks past the Starbucks logo on a store in Times Square in New York March 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp is finalising an equity joint venture with Tata Coffee Ltd for opening coffee shops in Asia's third-largest economy, the Times of India reported on Monday.

Seattle-based Starbucks had held talks with other potential partners in India including fast food chain operator Jubilant Foodworks before settling down with Tata Coffee, the newspaper said, citing sources with direct knowledge.

Tata Coffee's managing director, Hameed Huq, could not be reached by Reuters at his office in Bangalore, and Starbucks did not immediately respond to a mail seeking comment on the report.

Starbucks had signed a pact with Tata Coffee, part of the Tata industrial conglomerate, in January to buy coffee from India and explore opening retail stores in the country, the companies had said in a statement.

The Times of India said the Starbucks joint venture deal with Tata Coffee would also be backed by other bigger firms within the salt-to-software Tata group.

India's foreign direct investment regulations will allow Starbucks to hold up to 51 percent in the joint venture and Tata shares may be routed through more than one group entity, including Tata Coffee, the newspaper said.

(Writing by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)

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