The world’s coffee growing nations may swoop in to grab cheap Starbucks shares as the ailing company shutters stores and battles declining demand for premium beverages, Reuters reports. Colombia—the third-largest producer—could buy more control over the supply chain by nabbing “an important share” of the Seattle outfit by early 2009. Brazil and Central American growers have also signaled their interest.
Starbucks shares have fallen by 50% in the past year, reaching their lowest point since the company went public, though the company insists consumers’ caffeine demands will weather the recession. “We want to have a position of influence, a voice sufficiently strong to be able to contribute to the development of the company,” says the director of a Colombian coffee-growers union.