JAB Holding Co. is a privately held German conglomerate headquartered in Luxembourg, owned by the publicity-shy Reimann family, descendants of Ludwig Reimann, a chemist who, in 1828, joined with Johan Adam Benckiser, the founder of the namesake chemical company. Reimann married into the family and ultimately gained ownership of the chemicals giant. About 90% of the JAB Holding is now controlled by four of the nine adopted children of the late Albert Reimann Jr., the great grandson of the entrepreneurial chemist.
JAB's portfolio spans industries such as consumer goods, forestry, food and beverage and luxury fashion, among others. The closely held investment firm has gone on an acquisition spree to build a coffee and soft drinks empire, shelling out over $58 billion in six years on M&A, not including its most recent deal to buy a majority stake in British sandwich and coffee fast food chain Pret A Manger for 1.5 billion pounds ($1 billion).
The sale of Pret, announced Tuesday, will allow JAB to head off against rivals such as the world's largest food and beverage company, Nestle Corp., in the coffee segment, where it is currently No. 2 behind Starbucks Corp. (SBUX). The 32-year-old chain will now integrate with the the investment fund of Germany's billionaire Reimann family, already the owner of a handful of popular coffee brands like Caribou Coffee, Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea and Stumptown Coffee. Once the deal closes, Pret's 12,000 staff will receive a 1,000-pound bonus each, as tweeted by Chief Executive Officer Clive Schlee.
Doubling Down on Coffee and Soft Drinks
In January, JAB bought soda maker Dr. Pepper Snapple Group in a deal worth more than $21 billion, following its $7.2 billion buyout of Panera Bread in April 2017 and a dozen or so of other high-profile acquisitions including its $13.7 billion buyout of Keurig Green Mountain in December 2015. The owner of Peet's coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Krispy Kreme has successful created a portfolio of brands that complement each other without being direct competitors. The firm typically leaves the management teams undisrupted at the companies that it buys.
Many expect JAB to partner some of its brands in unique ways, such as selling Peet's Coffee & Tea beverages in Panera or adding Krispy Kreme doughnuts to the menu at some of its chains.
Pret, which boasts organic coffee and upmarket food option such as crayfish-and-rocket sandwiches, and generated revenue of 879 million pounds in 2017, adds 530 locations to JAB's growing international presence.
Meanwhile, JAB has abandoned plans to establish a holding of luxury goods makers, selling off high-end brands such as Jimmy Choo and Belstaff.