Who Owns Starbucks?

Who Owns Starbucks?

Who Owns Starbucks? Starbucks is owned by its shareholders, as it is a publicly-traded company. The company has more than 1,500 institutional shareholders, according to the proxy statement that Starbucks filed with the SEC on January 7, 2022. This figure clearly shows how well-diversified the ownership of the company is. Vanguard Group, Inc., is the largest shareholder of the company, having 9.19% shares. Individual shareholders like Howard Schultz also own a significant percentage of the company.

Brief History of Starbucks

Starbucks was founded in 1971 by Jerry Baldwin, Gordon Bowker, and Zev Siegl. They opened the first Starbucks shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Starbucks was not only selling coffee at that time, but also selling coffee-making equipment. Starbucks operated as a small coffee retailer until 1982, when Howard Schultz joined Starbucks as director of retail operations and marketing. Schultz brought a significant number of suggestions that shaped Starbucks positively. For instance, he suggested that the company should include espresso drinks among the products the company sells. He also convinced the founders to give the coffeehouse concept a trial in Seattle, and the concept became successful. 

The founders of Starbucks rejected Schultz’s idea to expand Starbucks’ products beyond coffee and coffee-making equipment. Schultz had to leave Starbucks in 1985 to establish his own coffeehouse chain, which he named Il Giornale. In 1987, the founders of Starbucks decided to sell out the company. Fortunately for Schultz, he was able to buy Starbucks with investor backing, so he merged the operations of his two companies under the Starbucks brand. He became the CEO of Starbucks in 1987 and used his strategic thinking to expand the company across the US and eventually to other parts of the world. Starbucks eventually went public in 1992. Ever since then, the company has continued to expand and integrate digitalization into its operation.

Brief History of the Co-founders

Jerry Baldwin

Jerry Baldwin was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and grew up in Montana. He studied History at the University of San Francisco. After he graduated from school, he worked as a teacher in high school for many years before he pursued a career in business. He played lots of vital roles in Starbucks, especially during the early years of the company when he was involved in aspects like coffee roasting, finance management, and operation management.

Gordon Bowker

Gordon Bowker is an entrepreneur and writer who was born in Seattle, Washington. He attended the University of San Francisco, where he met Baldwin, one of Starbucks’s co-founders. Bowker left the University of San Francisco when he was about to graduate to pursue a career in writing. He became an accomplished writer who wrote several great books, including a biography of George Orwell and a personal account of his experiences founding Starbucks.

Zev Siegl

Zev Siegl was born in Detroit, Michigan. He studied history and economics at the University of San Francisco. Siegl taught history in school before he co-founded Starbucks. He served as vice president of Starbucks after the company was established until 1980, when he sold his share of the company and ventured into other businesses.

Starbucks IPO

Starbucks went public on June 26, 1992. The cost of the company’s shares at that time was $17 per share, and it traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The company sold about 1.47 million shares to generate about $25 million. The company’s share has been rising steadily since that time. Currently, each Starbucks stock trades above $100.

Major Shareholders of Starbucks

The major shareholders of Starbucks are:

Vanguard Group, Inc.

The Vanguard Group holds 9.19% of Starbucks shares, worth about $10.78 billion. Vanguard Group, Inc., is a registered investment advisor in Malvern, Pennsylvania, having approximately $7 trillion in global assets under its management as of January 13, 2021. The Vanguard Group, Inc., is currently the largest provider of mutual funds worldwide

BlackRock, Inc.

BlackRock, Inc., holds 6.62% of Starbucks shares, worth about $7.76 billion. BlackRock, Inc., is a multinational investment company in New York City. It is the largest asset manager in the world, with about $10 trillion worth of assets as of January 2022. The company actively encourages investors to evaluate how their investments affect the environment and society.

State Street Corporation

State Street Corporation holds 3.83% of Starbucks shares, worth about $4.49 billion. State Street Corporation is a financial institution in Boston, Massachusetts. The company had more than $4.4 trillion in assets under its management as of December 31, 2021.

Bank of America Corporation

Bank of America Corporation holds 2.71% of Starbucks shares, worth $3.17 billion. Bank of America Corporation is a multinational investment bank and financial services firm. It is the second-largest banking institution in the US. As of 2022, the total assets of Bank of America Corporation are worth $3.051 trillion. 

Morgan Stanley Investment Management

Morgan Stanley Investment Management holds 2.32% of Starbucks shares, worth about $2.72 billion. Morgan Stanley is a multinational investment management and financial services firm. The company’s headquarters are in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

Impact of the Shareholder’s Ownership on Starbucks’s Success

The history of Starbucks clearly shows that Howard Schultz is one of the top individuals who had the most significant impact on Starbucks’s success. However, it’s important to note that Starbucks’s shareholders also made some significant impacts on the company’s success since the time the company went public. Here are some of the major impacts of the shareholder’s ownership on Starbucks’s success:

Provide Financial Resources

Starbucks constantly needs financial resources to open new stores, develop products, make campaigns, and carry out other necessary initiatives. Fortunately, the shareholders are available to provide the financial resources the company requires to grow and expand.

Influence Company strategy

Shareholders influence the company’s strategy through voting. They have the right to vote on important matters. Also, they can express their concerns to the management when necessary to ensure the company is going in the right direction.

Provide Valuable Feedbacks

Shareholders sometimes give valuable feedback to the management, especially at shareholders’ meetings. A few of the feedbacks they gave have helped the company stay on the right track to success.


Starbucks is one of the world’s largest coffeehouse chains. Schultz was a key figure that helped the company grow to its current level. Under Schultz’s leadership, the company expanded rapidly around the world. He also launched Starbucks’s digital and mobile platforms. Although Schultz is no longer the company’s CEO, he still remains on Starbucks’s board of directors and serves as an advisor to Laxman Narasimhan, the new CEO of Starbucks.



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