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Your Favorite Coffee Chain May Be Getting a New Owner

Eat This, Not That! logo Eat This, Not That! 10/26/2020 Mura Dominko
a sign above a store: Dunkin' dropped full name © Courtesy of Google+ user Jose Reyes Dunkin' dropped full name

Dunkin' may soon have a new owner whose portfolio already includes several other high-profile restaurant brands.

Dunkin' Brands Group Inc., the parent company of the beloved coffee chain, is in talks to be acquired by the Atlanta-based Inspire Brands. The deal would add Dunkin' and Baskin-Robins to Inspire's hefty portfolio of chains such as Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Sonic Drive-In. (Related: 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.)

The New York Times first reported on the acquisition talks between the companies over the weekend, putting the valuation of Dunkin' Brands at about $8.8 billion. The move would take the company private at the price of $106.50 a share. The chain was previously privately owned before majority owners Bain Capital, Carlyle Group, and Thomas H, Lee Partners took it public in 2011.

Dunkin' confirmed the news in a statement to The Times, which read: "Dunkin' Brands confirms that it has held preliminary discussions to be acquired by Inspire Brands. There is no certainty that any agreement will be reached. Neither group will comment further unless and until a transaction is agreed."

Dunkin's pivot to a rapid drive-thru expansion has staved off major business losses during a tumultuous 2020. The company has closed 800 underperforming restaurants this year, about half of which were located in Speedway gas stations. It currently operates more than about 8,000 U.S. locations, 60% of which have a drive-thru.

Inspire Brands was created in 2018, when the owner of Arby's acquired Buffalo Wild Wings. Since then, the company pursued aggressive expansion, adding three more fast food chains to its portfolio. This would be the company's largest acquisition to date, as well as the restaurant's industry's largest deal since the 2014 sale of Tim Horton's to Burger King.

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