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Starbucks' Investors Confident Despite Mondelez Settlement

This story has been updated from 9:42 a.m. with share price movement and new information.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Starbucks (SBUX - Get Report) shares regained positive ground at midday despite settling a dispute with Mondelez International (MDLZ - Get Report), the former owner of Kraft Foods, by agreeing to pay $2.75 billion for terminating the companies' coffee-selling contract.

After tumbling in pre-market trading and stumbling at market open, at midday the stock seems to be in positive territory. Shares of Starbucks were up 0.07% to $80.68 at last check. Mondelez shares were rising 1.8% to $33.02, at last check.

"The stock could be down on the news as some investors may have been hoping for a settlement closer to $1 billion than $3 billion, and we would be buyers on any dip," Jefferies analysts Andy Barish writes in a note. Jefferies has a "buy" rating on the stock.

"SBUX remains our favorite pick in restaurants, given its strong category momentum, tangible sales drivers and visible [approximately] 20% EPS growth in a very choppy industry environment," the note says.

Mondelez refers to itself as a global snacking powerhouse, with 2012 revenue of $35 billion. The company owns brands including Cadbury, Jacobs coffee, Nabisco and Oreo, Tang and Trident gum.

The company had spun off its Kraft Foods brand in October 2012 to form Kraft Foods Group (KRFT). Based on the agreement terms between the companies, Kraft will direct the net proceeds from the award to Mondelez. The settlement was released publicly Tuesday evening.

The company said that it intends use the net proceeds from the arbitration award to repurchase Mondelez International common stock.

"We're pleased that the arbitrator validated our position that Starbucks breached our successful and long-standing contractual relationship without proper compensation," Mondelez International's general counsel Gerd Pleuhs said in a statement. "We're glad to put this issue behind us. We can now fully focus on growing our global snacks business."

Kraft first began marketing Starbucks roast and ground coffee in 1998 and succeeded in building a highly profitable consumer packaged goods business, from a base of approximately $50 million to approximately $500 million in 2010, Mondelez said in a release.

In November 2010, Starbucks announced its intention to terminate the agreement that provided Kraft with the exclusive rights for the sales, marketing and distribution of Starbucks roast and ground coffee in grocery and other retail outlets. Later that month, Kraft initiated arbitration proceedings to challenge the improper termination of the companies' contract, Mondelez said.

Sanford Bernstein analyst Sara Senatore said the impact of the arbitration on Starbucks is "negligible," according to a research note. If Starbucks refrained from share repurchases in 2014, the impact is about 4 cents a share to earnings, the analyst wrote.

"For Mondelez, the after-tax proceeds of [approximately] $1.7 billion (or $0.97 of equity value per share) used for share repurchases would add $0.05 to EPS. Kraft is likely to focus on Gevalia and single-serve offerings going forward," Senatore wrote.
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