SEATTLE-Starbucks has signed a joint venture agreement with Cafes Sereia do Brasil Participacoes S.A., a Brazilian holding company led by local retailers in Sao Paulo, to form Starbucks Brasil Comercio de Cafes Ltda. (Starbucks Brasil). The joint venture, which will eventually operate Starbucks stores throughout the country, is scheduled to open its first location in Sao Paulo within a year.

Buck Hendrix, president of Starbucks Latin America, says that the Seattle-based chain is partnering with Maria Luisa and Peter Rodenbeck, the principals of Cafes Sereia do Brasil. The two have introduced several international retail brands to Brazil, including McDonald’s and Outback Steakhouse.

The Rodenbecks have been introducing international brands into Brazil for approximately 30 years. Before joining Outback Steakhouse Brazil as chief financial officer, Maria Luisa was involved in the hospitality industry with leadership positions at United Airlines and American Airlines. Peter is credited with introducing McDonald’s and Outback Steakhouse to the Brazilian market.

Alsea S.A. de CV., an operator of global brands in Latin America, is an equity holder in Starbucks Brasil. Alsea is a leading Mexican restaurant company that operates Starbucks, Dominos Pizza, Burger King, Popeye’s Chicken & Seafood Grill & Bar in Mexico with more than 800 locations. The company stock is traded on the Mexican Stock Exchange.

With the move into Brazil, Starbucks is in 37 countries, with more than 11,000 retail locations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. The move into Brazil is the latest in a series of international expansion plans unveiled by Starbucks, which announced plans earlier this year for a significant expansion into China.

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