Dunkin’ nears $9bn sale to Inspire Brands

Dunkin’ Brands, the US parent company behind the Dunkin’ coffee and doughnuts chain, is nearing a deal to be acquired by private equity-owned Inspire Brands for about $9bn, in a move that would delist it from the stock market, said people briefed about the matter.

The US chain, which also owns Baskin Robbins ice cream franchises, has been assessing a sale for some time, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter. A deal with Inspire Brands, which also owns fast-food chains such as Buffalo Wings and Sonic could be announced in the next few days barring any last minute glitches, those people added.

Inspire Brands, which is backed by consumer focused US private equity group Roark Capital, has made an offer worth $106.50 a share for Dunkin’ Brands, representing a 20 per cent premium on its closing price on Friday. 

The deal is the latest in a wave of US mergers and acquisitions in recent months as companies across sectors have been bulking up despite the economic uncertainty linked to a renewed spike in coronavirus cases and the outcome of the US presidential election.

US restaurant chains were badly hit earlier in the year after local government authorities across the country imposed stringent lockdowns, but fast-food chains with drive-through options have benefited, Wall Street analysts have said. 

“Dunkin’ has demonstrated strong recovery trends amid a challenging environment,” analysts at Credit Suisse said in an October 23 report. Dunkin’, whose shares hit an all-time high last week, closed at $88.79 on Friday — up 16 per cent year to date. Dunkin’ is scheduled to report earnings on October 29.

The New York Times first reported news of Dunkin’ Brands nearing a deal with Inspire Brands.

Additional reporting by Patrick Temple-West in New York