Private investment group to buy Peet's

by Eric Schroeder
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EMERYVILLE, CALIF. — Joh. A. Benckiser (JAB), a privately-held investment firm, has agreed to acquire Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Inc. for $73.50 per share in cash, or a total of approximately $1 billion. The agreement represents a premium of about 29% over Peet’s closing stock price on July 20.

Once the transaction closes, Peet’s will become privately owned and will continue to be operated by the company’s current management team and employees. Peet’s Coffee & Tea, founded in Berkeley, Calif., in 1966 by Alfred Peet, will remain based in the San Francisco Bay Area, with its home office in Emeryville and its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified roast-to-order facility in Alameda, Calif.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea is a specialty coffee roaster and marketer of fresh-roasted coffee and tea. The company sells its Peet’s brand coffee and tea through multiple channels of distribution, including grocery stores, home delivery, office, restaurant and food service accounts and, in six states, company-owned and operated stores. In addition, Peet’s sells Godiva Chocolatier brand coffees in its grocery channel.

In the year ended Dec. 31, 2011, Peet’s had net income of $17,787,000 on sales of $371,919,000.

“We are very excited about this next chapter in Peet’s rich history,” said Patrick O’Dea, president and chief executive officer of Peet’s. “Over many years we’ve demonstrated an unyielding commitment to craft coffees and teas of uncompromised quality. This commitment is what has distinguished the Peet’s brand among all others and will continue to guide us as we go forward.”

Bart Becht, chairman of JAB, said the acquisition is in line with JAB’s commitment to “owning and investing in companies with strong, premier-quality brands and great people whose values we share.”

“Peet’s is just such a company and we look forward to preserving the company’s culture and core values, while supporting management’s vision for future growth,” Mr. Becht said.

JAB’s portfolio includes a minority investment in D.E Master Blenders 1753.

In addition to JAB, BDT Capital, a Chicago-based merchant bank that provides long-term private capital and advice to closely held companies, is participating in the transaction as an adviser and minority investor.

The transaction is expected to close in approximately three months.

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