Keurig Sells Out

Keurig sells out to European JAB Holding Company and the dominant player in the USA single serve market becomes a trophy for a family owned company aiming to dominate the global coffee industry. The New York Times reports that Keurig is becoming part of the coffee empire of a European investor group.

A billionaire European family is on a caffeine-fueled binge to roll up the global coffee industry, with a huge bet announced Monday: a $13.9 billion acquisition of Keurig Green Mountain.

The all-cash deal, offering an eye-popping premium of 78 percent, took analysts and investors by surprise. Keurig has lately had its share of challenges, facing a saturated market for its single-serving coffee brewers, sluggish sales of pods and a stalled new product.

But the JAB Holding Company – the investment arm of the Reimann family, heirs to the German consumer goods company, Joh. A. Benckiser GmbH – is in year three of its quest to dominate the global coffee industry. Keurig, which commands a large majority of the single-serve market in the United States, was a natural next step for the Reimanns.

The Reimann family has a controlling stake in the Jacobs Douwe Egberts coffee conglomerate whose brands include Bravo and Bach Espresso. It also has controlling interest in Peet’s Coffee & Tea which in turn acquired Stumptown Coffee Roasters plus Espresso House and Baresso Coffee A/S. Having Keurig in the group provides a platform for selling their various coffees via the single serve route. The article notes that Keurig needed Starbucks too much to drop their brand but that may not be the case with a larger company with worldwide reach.

A Reprieve for the K-Cup

We wrote recently about the death of the k-cup.

Are we going to see the death of the k cup? Keurig, the maker of single serve coffee saw its stock drop 30% after reporting diminishing sales. It would seem that the k cup fad is wearing thin and Keurig has hurt itself by trying to corner the market with a machine upgrade that excludes other brands. That, in the end, is probably the reason for the death of the k cup.

With its stock price down 30% or more Keurig has been in trouble. JAB Holding Company can use the single serve approach to improve sales of its various brands and Keurig can use other sources of coffee that reduce it dependence on the likes of Starbucks.

Global Reach

As Keurig sells out JAB has their sights on creating a coffee empire that spans the globe according to Bloomberg Business.

JAB Holding Co. wants to rule the coffee world. The closely held investment firm that manages the fortune of Austria’s billionaire Reimann family took another step toward that goal Monday by acquiring Keurig Green Mountain Inc. for almost $14 billion in the industry’s biggest-ever deal.

JAB has spent more than $30 billion in the past four years acquiring coffee companies in the U.S. and Europe to challenge global leader Nestle SA. JAB has bought assets including D.E Master Blenders 1753 NV, Mondelez International Inc.’s coffee unit and high-end chain Peet’s Coffee & Tea.

“This is part of a much, much bigger strategy. JAB wants to be the Budweiser of the coffee space,” Pablo Zuanic, a Susquehanna Financial Group analyst, said, referring to Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s biggest brewer. “Just as you’ve seen Bud consolidate beer, they want to consolidate coffee.”

Our concern is just where the small grower of healthy organic coffee fits in this picture. More later.

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