After thumbing their noses at conservatives for years, Starbucks has begun to seriously feel the pinch from numerous boycotts.
In January, the company announced that sales growth had declined for the fifth straight quarter. Now, CEO Howard Schultz — an outspoken Hillary Clinton backer — is being demoted.
It’s only going to get worse.
Sponsored: Urgent news for Christian Americans…
The hugely popular restaurant chain Panera is being acquired by JAB Holding Co., one of Starbucks biggest competitors.
It’s part of a massive $7 billion deal, the second largest restaurant deal made in North America in decades.
Americans are likely more familiar with JAB than they know.
The investment fund has controlling interests in Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co., Stumptown Coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts — all major competitors of Starbucks.
Even worse for Starbucks, the Seattle company’s investors had been expecting THEIR company to be behind the takeover bid at Panera.
On Wednesday, St. Louis-based Panera revealed the buyer was JAB, which has quietly become a serious rival of the shrinking Starbucks.
Sponsored: [Video] Hillary melts down in public
Wall Street has been licking their chops after the move.
Panera “could be a competitive threat to Starbucks,” Morningstar Global restaurant analyst R.J. Hottovy gleefully told CNBC’s “Power Lunch” on Wednesday.
The timing couldn’t come at a worse time for Starbucks investors, too.
Despite the coffee maker’s promise to increase their veteran hiring — an effort to win conservatives back — over 78% of Horn News readers (20,450 of the 26,036 polled) have refused to end their boycott of the company.
Starbucks stock has declined over 2.1 percent from it’s Wednesday high, largely attributed to the Panera news.
Sponsored: CNN Does Not Want You to See This Video
The Panera deal, which includes approximately $340 million of debt, is expected to close in the third quarter. It still needs the approval of Panera shareholders.
Shares of Panera surged $38.94, or 14.2 percent, to close Wednesday at $312.94.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.