Just as Starbucks pioneered a new retail experience for coffee and espresso, the company’s acquisition of Teavana provides the opportunity to do the same within the rapidly growing $40 billion global tea category. In calendar 2013, Starbucks will integrate its unique assets – including its leading position in social and digital media, its ten million member global loyalty program, card and mobile payment platforms – with the Teavana customer experience to expand Teavana’s current mall-based store footprint with a comprehensive design strategy that will include new Teavana neighborhood locations in markets across North America and around the world. Teavana recently opened its first store in the Middle East in partnership with Starbucks existing joint venture partner Alshaya, and has plans to enter new, high-consumption tea markets around the world in the years ahead.Starbucks investment in Teavana is matched by its commitment to continue to grow the Tazo business – giving Starbucks a two-tiered market position for tea. Starbucks plan is to define a new elevated platform of tea experience and education, and for both the Teavana and Tazo brands to grow and complement one another while at the same time elevating the entire category through a combination of expertise and assets. “The acquisition of Teavana supports our growth strategy to innovate with new products, enter new categories, and expand into new channels of distribution,” said Jeff Hansberry, president, Channel Development and Emerging Brands for Starbucks, who will assume leadership of the new subsidiary. “Evolution Fresh, La Boulange and now Teavana demonstrate how Starbucks will add brands that strengthen our core offering and create a rich ecosystem of experiences with shared values, mutual efficiencies and complementary characteristics, thus forming tangible examples of the success of the Starbucks Blueprint for Growth and a differentiated health and wellness offering in the marketplace.” Starbucks has entered into a merger agreement with Teavana to acquire Teavana for an aggregate acquisition price of approximately $620 million in cash and expects the acquisition to be accretive to earnings by approximately $0.01 per share in fiscal year 2013, based off of the previously announced earnings targets. Teavana stockholders of record will receive $15.50 per share in cash in the merger which will result in Teavana becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Starbucks. Stockholders of Teavana holding approximately 70% of the outstanding shares of common stock have approved the merger agreement by written consent, and the closing is expected to occur by year end, following receipt of regulatory clearances.