Timati was named among the future owners of the US coffeehouse chain’s property in Russia

Rapper Timati was named by news outlet Mash among a group of people about to purchase Russian coffee houses previously operated by US giant Starbucks. Like many other Western companies, Starbucks has shut down its outlets and seeks to pull out of the Russian market.

Timati, whose real name is Timur Yunusov, banded with restaurant tycoon Anton Pinsky and Russian Senator Arsen Kanokov, who owns a large holding for commercial real estate, to acquire Starbucks assets in Russia, Mash claimed on Friday without citing any sources.

The report claimed that the deal is almost finalized, and said “the possibility of backtracking like Elon Musk did with Twitter is out of the question,” referring to the US billionaire’s aborted bid to buy the popular social media platform.

Mash said the buyers will receive the renting agreements for all 130 Starbucks outlets in Russia, as well as the employment contracts with its 2,000 workers, but will have to operate them under a new brand name. It did not offer details about the terms of the purchase.

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A popular performer and subject of constant celebrity gossip, 38-year-old Timati is also an accomplished businessman. His former record label, Black Star, grew into a major investment holding over 15 years.

When he split with his business partners and left the label in 2020, Timati took as his share of the assets a chain of barber shops, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, and a carwash business. He also remained involved with a premium burger restaurant brand. According to Forbes estimates, in 2021 alone, he earned over $10.4 million.

Starbucks, which opened its first coffee house in Russia in 2007, suspended all operations in March, after Russia attacked Ukraine. The US and its allies responded with an unprecedented wave of economic sanctions, and Western companies faced public pressure to cut all business ties with the country.

A similar deal was struck by another popular US brand, McDonald’s, which sold its Russian assets to businessman Aleksandr Govor. The restaurants began reopening last month with a new name that translates as ‘Just Tasty’. Mash joked that Starbucks may soon be known as ‘Just Coffee’ in Russia.

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