By my count, with Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) being taken private at $106.50/share by Inspire Brands, there are no more publicly traded donut store pure plays, not that that is the end of the world. I've still probably got a bee in my bonnet over the last donut name acquisition, when Krispy Kreme was taken out by JAB Holdings for a song, in my humble opinion, but it is common to think that takeout prices for names you own are too low.
There is something, however, that both of those acquisitions have in common. The acquirers in both cases have both built formidable portfolios of restaurant and other brands, and may continue doing so. JAB Holdings, which took out my beloved Krispy Kreme has also snapped up Panera Bread (2017), Peets Coffee (2015), Einstein Noah (2014), and Caribou Coffee (2012). It has also scooped up private restaurant names such as Pret A Manger (2018), and non-restaurants as well such as Keurig Green Mountain (2016), and Dr Pepper Snapple (acquired by Keurig Green Mountain in 2018). It is clear that JAB loves caffeinated beverages.
DNKN's acquirer, Inspire Brands, formerly Arby's Restaurant Group, took on it's new name in 2018 when the company acquired Buffalo Wild Wings. Later that year, the company picked off fast food drive-in name Sonic. Last year, it acquired privately held Jimmy Johns.
I expect that the brand-building will continue, or at the very least, restaurant acquisitions will continue. Even beyond Inspire and JAB's activities, restaurant land has been ripe for the picking for years.
Yum Brands (YUM) got into the habit (pun intended) when it acquired The Habit back in January. Even some struggling names such as Zoe's Kitchen, and Ruby Tuesday were acquired in 2018 and 2017, respectively. In 2017, Bob Evans sold its restaurant business to Golden Gate Capital. Golden Gate Capital, by the way, has also been building out a brand portfolio -- besides Bob Evans, it also owns California Pizza Kitchen, and Red Lobster, which it bought from Darden (DRI) in 2014. Fogo de Chao was bought by Rhome Capital in 2018. Publicly traded Restaurant Brands International (QSR) , which already owned Tim Hortons and Burger King, acquired Popeyes in 2017.
And on and on it goes. In Monday's column, I'll take a look at what names might be the next targets. I've had mixed success with this over the years, getting it "right", in terms of being acquired, at least, with Zoe's, Krispy Kreme, Ruby Tuesday, and Bob Evans. But, of course, there are plenty of others I've served up as potential acquisition candidates that have not come to fruition...yet.