Caribou wants more carbs with its coffee.
Caribou Coffee is buying Bruegger’s Bagels, the latest twist for a rapidly expanding corporate family that already includes the Einstein Bros. bagel chain.
The owner of Bruegger's, Dallas-based Le Duff America, announced Thursday morning it agreed to sell the 270-unit chain to Brooklyn Center-based Caribou. Terms weren’t disclosed.
It’s the latest deal by JAB Holding Co., the Luxembourg-based firm that owns Caribou, Einstein and a number of other brands familiar to American diners and coffee lovers. Caribou and Einstein moved closer to one another last month following the appointment of a single chief executive over both companies.
Not counting this deal, JAB has spent more than $40 billion acquiring carb and coffee purveyors such as Panera Bread, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Intelligentsia Coffee and the retail brand Keurig Green Mountain.
JAB’s most recent purchase in April of St. Louis-based Panera, which serves soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods at about 2,000 locations, was worth $7.5 billion, including debt. Last year, JAB paid $1.35 billion for Krispy Kreme, a classic American doughnut chain.
The news throws into the air the future of retail partnerships and branding between Caribou and the two bagel chains, Einstein and Bruegger’s. Several years ago, Caribou began experimenting with Bruegger’s on some co-branded retail spots, but that effort ended once JAB bought Einstein Noah, which has just over 800 locations.
Since then, Caribou and Lakewood, Colo.-based Einstein created a co-branded concept called “Coffee & Bagels,” which has more than a dozen Twin Cities outlets.
It is unclear what, if anything, the acquisition of a rival bagel maker will mean for Caribou’s co-branded retail stores. Caribou did not make any of its leaders available for an interview and did not make a comment by late Thursday.
The first Caribou Coffee shop opened in December 1992 near the intersection of 44th Street and France Avenue in Edina. It is now the nation’s second-largest premium coffee chain behind Starbucks. JAB purchased the Minnesota coffee company in 2012 for $340 million.
Caribou employs about 250 people at its Brooklyn Center headquarters and about 4,600 people worldwide. There are more than 600 company-owned and franchised stores globally.
Last month, Caribou quietly appointed Sarah Spiegel as its new chief executive. She was also named CEO of Einstein, marking the first time the companies’ CEO role had been consolidated under one leader. Spiegel was previously president of U.S. retail and chief operating officer, and a brand president of Einstein Noah before that.
Mike Tattersfield, Caribou’s CEO since 2008, became board chairman of Caribou and Einstein at that time.
JAB, which has also owned numerous luxury brands, recently shifted its focus toward its American food and beverage firms. In April, high-end shoe brand Jimmy Choo put itself up for sale with the approval of JAB, its largest shareholder. Michael Kors announced last month it was buying the shoe company for $1.2 billion.