Peet’s Agreed to Sole ‘Eager Buyer’ Benckiser

Peet’s Coffee & Tea Inc., the California-based retailer that agreed to be acquired by Joh. A. Benckiser for about $1 billion last month, didn’t collect any other bids and decided to sell itself less than two months after it was first contacted by the buyer, according to an Aug. 9 preliminary proxy statement.

The coffee maker’s stock has traded higher than its $72.50 per share offer from JAB, a German holding company, every day since the takeover was announced on July 23. Peet’s, which was founded five years before Starbucks Corp., said in the filing that it previously held talks with a “global coffee company” that fell apart in late 2010.

Peet’s had “interactions” with seven possible buyers or potential commercial partners between December 2010 and June 2012, signing confidentiality pacts with three of them, before its Chairman Jean-Michel Valette met with JAB group’s Chief Executive Officer Olivier Goudet on June 21, according to the filing. JAB said when talks started it would walk away if Peet’s sought competing bids.

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