Starbucks Coffee has been sold to investment company Tahua Capital.

Restaurant Brands will not renew its license agreement with Starbucks Coffee International when it expires in October, the company made the announcement to the NZX this morning.

The Auckland-based fast food company, which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Carl's JR, sold the New Zealand business' assets to Tahua for $4.4 million.

Tahua will enter into a new license agreement with Starbucks Coffee International.

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The new owners plan to refurbish existing Starbucks stores and open more.

Starbucks Coffee has been part of Restaurant Brands since 1998 when it opened the first store in Parnell, Auckland.

In recent years it has scaled back plans for Starbucks, closing unprofitable stores to focus its attention instead on higher growth opportunities such as expanding its KFC operation to Australia and taking over a Taco Bell and Pizza Hut operation in Hawaii.

Tahua Capital chief executive Charles Belcher said the company was excited to start working with the local Starbucks team.

"Both Tahua and Starbucks share similar values about high-quality coffee, engaged partners, employees and a passion to create positive change in the communities they serve," Belcher said.

"We are very positive about a bright future for Starbucks Coffee in New Zealand."

Tahua will seek to secure the leases of the existing 22 stores and employ all 300 Starbucks staff on the same contracts.

Restaurant Brands will support Tahua Capital with stock management and IT services for 12 months.

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Starbucks Coffee contributes to less than 4 per cent of total Restaurant Brand sales.

The sale is expected to impact Restaurant Brands' net profit by $1.3 million, and will be finalised in late October.

Restaurant Brands chairman Ted van Arkel said Starbucks had become "less relevant to the company's overall direction".

"While the Starbucks business had provided a steady contribution to the group over a number of years, it was becoming less relevant to the company's overall
direction as it looked to further expand its core quick service restaurant brands in New Zealand and overseas."

The Herald has approached Restaurant Brands for further comment.

Shares in Restaurant Brands last traded at $7.70 and have gained 19 per cent this year.