| US

Dunkin’ Brands considers $9bn sale to private equity firm

Dunkin’ and Baskin Robbins owner confirms acquisitions talks with Inspire Brands, a move that has the potential to shake-up the competitive landscape in the US coffee chain market

Dunkin' Brands operates more than 13,000 Dunkin' and 8,000 Baskin' Robbins stores around the world | Photo: Dunkin' Brands 



Dunkin’ Brands has confirmed reports it is in ‘preliminary discussions’ over a potential sale to private equity firm Inspire Brands. In a press statement, the owner of the Dunkin’ and Baskin’ Robbins businesses the said there was ‘no certainty’ in a sale, which Bloomberg and the Financial Times reported to be worth nearly $9m.
 
The terms of the deal would bring Dunkin Brands’ back into private hands for the first time since its previous owners, Bain Capital, the Carlyle Group and Thomas H Lee Partners, took the company public in 2011.
 
Inspire Brands is the owner of the Rusty Taco, Jimmy Johns and Arby’s restaurant businesses and operates some 11,000 sites in 14 countries, generating annual revenues of around $14.6bn. The Atlanta-based company is backed by US private equity firm Roark Capital, which controls a vast network of US restaurant and café brands, including Cinnabon, Seattle’s Best Coffee and Corner Bakery Café.
 
Purchasing Dunkin’ Brands would give Roark Capital access to more than 13,000 Dunkin’ and 8,000 Baskin’ Robbins stores in over 60 countries worldwide. In the US, where Dunkin’ operates some 9,600 stores, the acquisition would give Roark Capital significant leverage to compete with coffee shop market leader Starbucks, as well as value-focused brands Tim Hortons and McCafé.
 
The deal would also enable Roark Capital to challenge the significant influence of Germany’s JAB Holding Company, which has amassed a legion of more than 30 US coffee chains, including Panera Bread, Peet’s Coffee and Caribou Coffee. Allegra research shows that collectively, Starbucks, Dunkin’ and JAB Holdings-owned brands comprise over three-quarters of the US branded coffee shop market.

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