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This covert European holding company is buying up all the coffee and doughnuts

This covert European holding company is buying up all the coffee and doughnuts
[Photo: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash]

Adjust your tinfoil hats, conspiracy theorists, ’cause we’re going in. Prior to World War II, the Germans were hungry for power—now they seem to be hungry for breakfast. That’s according to CB Insights, which has charted out a stealthy plan by the German-Luxembourgian conglomerate JAB Holdings to buy all the coffee, bagels, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts that make breakfast in the United States so great.

JAB acquired Peet’s Coffee and Tea back in July 2012, and has since gone on a caffeinated spending spree (like when you grab a Trente Chestnut Praline Latte and go to the mall, but with a much bigger budget). Six months later, the company acquired the Minnesota chain Caribou Coffee. It bought Mighty Leaf Tea in 2014, and Peet’s acquired both Portland-based Stumptown and Chicago’s Intelligentsia third-wave coffee shops in 2015. Then in 2016, JAB made its biggest deal yet: a $13.9 billion cash acquisition of Keurig Green Mountain, the office coffee company whose pod-based brew you might very well be drinking in your cubicle right now.

But that’s not all. JAB is not only buying coffee, but all the breakfast food that goes with it: It took Einstein Brothers Bagels private in 2014, and while most of us buy a dozen doughnuts, JAB bought the entire Krispy Kreme operation in 2016 (for $1.35 billion, which is a lot of doughnuts). It was still hungry, apparently, because it acquired Panera Bread in 2017 and then Panera bought Au Bon Pain, and Caribou (which JAB owns) bought Bruegger’s Bagels in 2017 in a sort of breakfast ouroboros. Now JAB is moving into the kombucha market (which, frankly, it can have). For now, though, hold on to your Dunkin’ and pray JAB’s appetite for American breakfast is finally sated.

[Image: CB Insights]
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