US FIRM Seattle Coffee Company is to join its hometown rival Starbucks in the battle for the London coffee bar market.
The company - not related to the UK firm of the same name recently bought out by Starbucks - is searching for a UK franchise partner to help it launch in London.
Seattle Coffee Company, which owns the brands Seattle's Best Coffee and Torrefazione, already has one outlet in London. But that is likely to close as the coffee giant wants a full-scale launch with a single partner.
Tom Mitchell, international marketing manager for Seattle's Best Coffee, said the $56m (£33.3m) operation was studying the UK and Japan as the most appealing international markets.
Seattle Coffee Company is looking at franchise partners who could open a series of UK shops quickly. One option could be a partnership with clothing store Eddie Bauer, with which it already works in North America, to offer in-store coffee bars.
It also has coffee shops in Virgin Megastores in the USA.