© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Starbucks logo is seen at a Starbucks coffee shop in Seoul, South Korea, March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

(Reuters) -Starbucks Corp said on Monday it will exit any direct ownership in South Korea, its fifth-largest market, selling the 50% stake it owns in a joint venture to local partner E-Mart Inc and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC.

E-Mart, which currently owns 50% of Starbucks (NASDAQ:) Coffee Korea, said it would acquire an additional 17.5% stake that would be worth 474 billion won ($411.89 million).

That also suggests a $2.35 billion valuation for Starbucks Coffee Korea, Reuters calculations showed.

GIC will own the remaining 32.5% of the venture, Starbucks said.

The U.S. coffee chain operates more than 1,500 stores across 78 cities in South Korea, where 2020 revenue rose 3.2% to 1.93 trillion won despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a long-term investor, GIC is confident that Starbucks Coffee Korea will play an important role in setting retail coffee trends and further driving industry growth,” said Choo Yong Cheen, GIC’s chief investment officer of private equity.

Starbucks said the deal is expected to be completed over the next 90 days.

($1 = 1,150.5800 won)

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