Starbucks invests in Italy's Princi boutique bakery

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp on Wednesday announced a financial investment and global licensing deal with Princi, an artisanal bakery based in Milan, Italy.

A Starbucks logo is seen at a Starbucks coffee shop in Vienna, Austria, June 21, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

As part of its investment, Starbucks and Milan-based Angel Lab and Pekepan Investments, will open standalone Princi cafes around the world. The first is planned for Seattle in 2017.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Princi also will become the exclusive food purveyor operating within Starbucks’ upcoming showcase roastery locations, starting in Shanghai and New York.

Separately, Princi will provide food for new Starbucks cafes that serve only premium small-lot “reserve” coffee. That new cafe concept is slated to debut in 2017.

Starbucks in February said Italian businessman Antonio Percassi would open Italy’s first Starbucks cafe in Milan in early 2017, bringing the brand to one of the top coffee-consuming countries in Europe.

Terms of that licensing arrangement were also not disclosed.

Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz has said a business trip to Milan and Verona inspired his vision for what has become the world’s biggest coffee chain.

Starbucks bought California-based La Boulange bakery owner Bay Bread Group for $100 million in 2012 and opened nearly two dozen bakeries under that name.

But the coffee giant closed those stores and two related manufacturing plants last year, saying they were not sustainable for its long-term growth.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles, editing by G Crosse