I earlier wrote about my beef with weak German coffee, so the recent news about wealthy Germans buying up Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. for about $1.35 billion caught my eye. German-owned JAB Holding Company is almost unknown to the average person, but this giant investment group has a controlling interest in many brand names you know and love.
Today’s trivia question: What do Bally, Caribou Coffee, Coty, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), Jimmy Choo, Keurig Green Mountain, Krispy Kreme, and Peet’s Coffee & Tea all have in common? Answer: They are all held by JAB Holding Co., a family-owned enterprise that dates back to 1823 in Pforzheim, Germany. German chemist Ludwig Reimann took over the company in the mid-1800s after the original founder Johann Adam Benckiser (now immortalized as JAB) sold his interest to Reimann – who had married Benckiser’s daughter. Today the privately held investment group is in the hands of four adopted Reimann (RYE-MAN) siblings: Wolfgang Reimann, Stefan Reimann-Andersen, Renate Reimann-Haas, and Matthias Reimann-Andersen. Their combined wealth is estimated to be around $17.6 billion, or about $4.4 billion each.
JAB Holding, along with its various subsidiaries, has been on a buying spree over the last few years. Although it has stakes in cosmetics, fragrances, cleansers, clothing, and shoes, JAB’s focus of late has been on coffee – and doughnuts. Five of its recent acquisitions have added coffee and tea to the fold. The latest purchase, expected to be finalized in a few months, is that all-American institution known as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. For $1.35 billion (along with minority investor, BDT Capital Partners), JAB-controlled JAB Beech will add the doughnut chain to its holdings, with coffee on its mind. JAB and its subsidiaries already control many popular coffee brands: Jacobs, Kaffee HAG, Kenco, Millicano, Gevalia, and Tassimo (under its Mondelez division), plus Douwe Egberts, Senseo, and Pilão (under D.E Master Blenders). With its recent Caribou, Peet’s, and Keurig acquisitions, JAB Holding, the former number three in coffee now becomes number two in the world, better able to compete with number one Nestlé, the giant Swiss player in Kaffee. Continue reading