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Howard Schultz wakes up and smells the media

June 2, 2009

 Perhaps he woke up one day and smelled his own coffee shops struggling in the weak economy. So, schultz2Starbucks Corp Chief Executive Howard Schultz is waking up to a fresh brew by percolating new business in the media world.

Starbucks has become the official naming sponsor of CNBC’s “Morning Joe” television show. The move is a throwback to the 1950s, when television programs were underwritten by manufacturers ranging from soap to cigarettes, and it comes as traditional advertising dollars are shrinking for publishers, television networks and other ad-reliant businesses. 

Schultz, who has made his own headlines over the years, also is an investor in TheWrap.com, a celebrity news blog based in Los Angeles, through Maveron, a venture capital firm he co-founded with Dan Levitan.

Maveron’s other investments include restaurant operators Pinkberry and Potbelly Sandwich Works as well as online names like eBay and drugstore.com.

(Photo: Reuters/Robert Sorbo)

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