Krispy Kreme shares soar on sweet takeover offer

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NEW YORK — Krispy Kreme shareholders got a caffeine boost after coffee giant JAB Beech said Monday it is acquiring the doughnut chain.

The Luxembourg-based investment firm, which owns Keurig Green Mountain, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Caribou Coffee, said it is taking the North Carolina doughnut company private in a deal worth about $1.35 billion.

Krispy Kreme’s stock jumped $4.10, or 24.3 percent, to $20.96.

The deal comes after JAB Holdings recently added to its coffee empire with the acquisition of Keurig, which makes single-cup coffee machines that sit on countertops. JAB Holdings, which is predominantly owned by the Reimann family in Europe, also has stakes in Jacobs Douwe Egberts, the company behind Gevalia, Tassio and other brands.

Outside of coffee, JAB Holding has stakes in bagel shop operator Einstein Noah, beauty products maker Coty and high-end shoe seller Jimmy Choo.

The companies said Krispy Kreme will continue to be independently operated from its headquarters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Krispy Kreme, which was founded in 1937, has more than 1,100 shops around the world, with about 300 of those in the U.S.

For its fiscal 2017, Krispy Kreme had said in March that it planned to open about 120 to 140 new international locations, in addition to about 30 new shops domestically.

Unlike its larger rival Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme stores in the U.S. still gets most of its business from doughnuts and other pastries, rather than coffee drinks and sandwiches. But Krispy Kreme has said that it wants step up its beverage sales.

Peter Harf, a senior partner at JAB, said the acquisition is part of the firm’s strategy of investing in brands with significant growth prospects.

JAB Beech Inc. will pay $21 for each share of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. That’s about a 25 percent premium to the company’s Friday closing price of $16.86.

Krispy Kreme’s board unanimously approved the transaction, which is targeted to close in the third quarter. The company said it will postpone its annual shareholders meeting, which was originally set for June 14.

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