A German corporation called JAB Holding Co. has its gaze fixed on dominating the coffee industry. This morning Keurig Green Mountain, manufacturer of the landfill-killing, single-serve coffee pods known as K-cups, announced it was being acquired by JAB, a move that will privatize the publicly-traded company.
It's just the latest merger for JAB, which acquired Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee (which recently became the first chain to serve nitro-infused coffee) and California-based Peet's Coffee & Tea in 2012. In a recent move that sent shockwaves throughout the third-wave coffee community, Peet's purchased Portland, Ore.'s beloved indie roaster Stumptown Coffee, meaning it too is now a part of JAB's portfolio. JAB also controls a host of other big coffee brands including Tassimo, Maxwell House, and Gevalia.
Per a joint press release issued this morning, "Keurig Green Mountain will be privately owned and will continue to be operated independently by the company’s management team and employees."
Keurig's stock shot up more than 70 percent this morning following news of the merger. JAB is paying $92 per share in cash for the company, for a total of just under $14 billion. It's likely a big relief for Keurig Green Mountain shareholders: Up until now the stock had been in a steady freefall all year long, beginning the year at around 130 points and dropping all the way to 40 in mid-November. Consumers have seemingly soured on the coffee pods, which besides being bad for the environment are incredibly expensive; the company also pissed off loyal customers when it designed new machines that refused to brew off-brand K-cups.
Will coffee nerds soon be recoiling at the sight of Stumptown-branded K-cups? Stay tuned. The coffee industry isn't the only arm of the beverage market to be facing down a mega-merger right now: The world's two largest beer makers, SABMiller and AB InBev, are on the brink of merging to create a global beer goliath in a $106 billion deal.