Socially responsible asset manager Pax World Funds has dumped its $23.4 million worth of Starbucks stock because of a deal the Seattle-based coffee retailer has entered into with spirits maker Jim Beam.
Although Starbucks will not sell the product at its retail stores, Pax World urged Starbucks in a Feb. 17 to reconsider its decision to market a coffee liquor with the Clermont, Ky.-based bourbon specialist, A major advertising campaign for the new beverage is now underway.
"We have divested ourselves of these shares reluctantly and only after trying to get the company to reconsider its course of action," said Anita Green, vice president of social research at Pax World, in a statement.
Starbucks management said, "Prior to the introduction of this product, Starbucks worked diligently to research and understand its potential impact."
The 375,000 shares sold by Pax World, which manages about $1.5 billion in assets, account for just a fraction of Starbucks' estimated market capitalization of $20.6 billion. The stake accounts for 1.6% of the Pax World Balanced Fund portfolio, according to The Associated Press. The fund had held the stake for eight years, a report from Reuters indicated.