Krispy Kreme Agrees to $1.35 Billion Takeover

Buyer is German conglomerate JAB Holding Company.

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By John Kell • May 9, 2016

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This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has agreed to a $1.35 billion takeover offer by German conglomerate JAB Holding Company, a sweet 25 percent premium to the company's closing stock price on Friday.

JAB is agreeing to buy Krispy Kreme for $21 per share in cash. The deal for the retailer, which has been a public company since April 2000, is expected to close in the third quarter. As a result of the transaction, Krispy Kreme has postponed an annual shareholders meeting that was originally planned for June.

CEO Tony Thompson lauded the deal, saying JAB's "experience and industry knowledge make them the ideal partner to help grow the iconic Krispy Kreme brand throughout the world." After the transaction closes, Krispy Kreme will continue operations at the company's current headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The deal for Krispy Kreme is interesting on a few levels. JAB Holding Company has established a recent track record for acquiring coffee brands, including a $13.9 billion takeover for Keurig Green Mountain last year and the acquisitions of Peet's Coffee & Tea and Caribou Coffee Company over the past several years.

But Krispy Kreme, which is known for selling breakfast items, has traditionally lagged in the sale of beverages. Sales of the retailer's doughnuts comprise of about 89 percent of total retail sales, with the balance comprised principally of beverage sales. Beverage sales are far greater at brands like Starbucks and Dunkin' Brands. JAB could help make beverages a greater opportunity for Krispy Kreme.

Krispy Kreme only more recently began to aggressively tackle the potential coffee business. In 2014, it signed deals to sell ready-to-drink coffees in bottles and in 2015, inked a licensing deal to roast and distribute 12-ounce bags of ground coffee.

The German company's expertise could also help improve sales abroad. Krispy Kreme, which generates $518.7 million in annual revenue, has posted consistent sales gains in the U.S. market but sales at existing stores in foreign markets have slipped in recent years.

Peter Harf, Senior Partner at JAB, said the acquisition was yet "another example of our commitment to investing in extraordinary brands with significant growth prospects."

John Kell

John Kell is a Reporter @FortuneMagazine.

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