Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc., the parent company of donuts chain Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins, said it’s in talks to be acquired by private equity-backed Inspire Brands.
“Dunkin’ Brands confirms that it has held preliminary discussions to be acquired by Inspire Brands,” Karen Raskopf, a Dunkin’ spokeswoman, said in a statement, declining to offer further details and cautioned that there’s is no certainty an agreement will be reached.
Shares of Dunkin’ Brands have more than doubled since March on investor optimism its mobile order app and loyalty program have boosted sales during the pandemic. The Canton, Massachusetts-based company dropped the word “Donuts” from its name in 2018, signaling its broadened focus on beverages.
Still, the company said in July it expects to close about 800 U.S. locations permanently this year as part of a “real estate portfolio rationalization.” Comparable-store sales have been improving in July, Dunkin’ Brands said, but they remain down in the “low-single digits” for stores of both key brands at the time.
Inspire Brands, the owner of Buffalo Wild Wings and Jimmy John’s, is backed by the Atlanta-based private equity firm Roark Capital. In April, Roark made a $200 million investment in Cheesecake Factory Inc.
In 2005, Dunkin’ Brands was sold by Pernod Ricard to a group of buyers including Bain Capital, The Carlyle Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners for $2.4 billion.