Mexico's Alsea buys Starbucks businesses in Chile and Argentina

Mexico City, Jul 17 (EFE).- Mexican restaurant operator Alsea said Wednesday it was acquiring full ownership of the Starbucks Coffee businesses in Chile and Argentina for an undisclosed sum.

The deal covers an 82 percent interest in Starbucks Coffee Chile S.A. and 18 percent of Starbucks Coffee Argentina S. de R.L. de C.V., Alsea said in a filing with securities regulators.

"This agreement is not only a new vote of confidence by Starbucks, as it is giving us the mission of continuing to develop the brand in Chile and Argentina, but also our commitment to maintain our growth strategy for our core business," Alsea CEO Fabian Gosselin said in a statement.

The acquisition of Starbucks's Argentina unit will close immediately, while the Chilean transaction is expected to close no later than Sept. 24, Alsea said.

"Obtaining 100 percent of the business in Chile and Argentina will allow us to accelerate the growth of the brand (and) add profitability and value to Alsea's consolidated results, and thus continue to create value for our shareholders," Gosselin said.

Alsea is the leading operator of fastfood restaurants, coffee shops and casual dining establishments in Latin America.

The company operated 1,768 restaurants in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia under the Domino's Pizza, Starbucks, Burger King, Chili's, California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang's, Pei-Wei, Italianni's and other brands at the end of 2012.