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Starbucks Buys Juice Company Evolution Fresh For $30 Million

First Posted: 11/11/2011 9:02 am Updated: 01/10/2012 4:12 am

Coffee giant Starbucks Corp announced Thursday that it acquired juice company Evolution Fresh for $30 million.

The java chain will take another step into the health and wellness industry with new juice bars set to open in the West Coast some time next year, Reuters reports.

In a press release, CEO Howard Schultz said this about the acquisition:

"Our intent is to build a national Health and Wellness brand leveraging our scale, resources and premium product expertise. Bringing Evolution Fresh into the Starbucks family marks an important step forward in this pursuit."

It's uncertain if the Starbucks logo will be used by the stores. Reuters points out the logo's recent redesign no longer includes the word "coffee."

Evolution Fresh, a California-based company that squeezes fresh fruit and vegetable juices, was started by the founder of popular Naked Juice, a brand of juices Starbucks already sells in its stores, the Associated Press reports.

In a briefing with investors, Schultz said: "We are replicating the understanding we have about beverage capability and adding the theater and romance [of our coffee stores]," according to the Associated Press.

Whispers of Starbucks' interest in the juice business began creeping up in October when Schultz hired Yohana Bencosme, a "veteran juicer," and flew her to Seattle for to train employees.

The company has also been rumored in the last year to be entertaining the idea of acquiring Peet's, the coffee chain said to have inspired the Seattle giant. In 2003, Starbucks acquired Seattle's Best Coffee, a hometown rival.

Starbucks shares rose "57 cents to close at $43.52 Thursday," the AP points out. "Starbucks did not change its earnings forecast based on the acquisition."

For more on the announcement, read the press release on Business Wire.

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Filed by Ileana Llorens  |