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Dunkin’ Eyeing Potential Sale to the Owner of Arby’s and Jimmy John’s

Plus, a Listeria outbreak possibly linked to deli meat, and other news to start the day

A Dunkin’ Donuts store exterior. Photo: George Sheldon/Shutterstock

Dunkin’ is in talks to sell itself to the Arby’s parent company

Dunkin’ Brands, the parent company of Dunkin’ (née Donuts) and Baskin Robbins, could soon be owned by Inspire Brands, the owner of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic, and Jimmy John’s. The two companies are reportedly in talks for Inspire to acquire Dunkin’ Brands for $106.50 a share, or $8.8 billion, the New York Times reports. This would take Dunkin’ Brands private and make it private-equity-owned again, after having fully sloughed off its previous private-equity owners in 2012.

Why would the bro-iest fast-food company want to buy the Massachusetts darling? After a brief drop in sales and the closure of 800 stores early on in the pandemic, Dunkin’ has rebounded, helped in part by its drive-thrus and online ordering. The chain also proved that it can get hip with Gen Z through its partnership with TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, whose eponymous drink for Dunkin’ drew a lot of customers. All in all, one analyst told CNBC, Dunkin’s business is healthier than the chains that Inspire — formerly Arby’s Restaurant Group — acquired over the last two years.

A deal between the two companies could be announced as soon as today, per the Times. From there, reflecting a broader trend across companies and industries in a tough financial landscape, it’s all consolidation, all the way down.

And in other news…

  • Outbreak alert: 10 people across multiple states have been infected with Listeria, likely due to deli meat. The specific type and supplier of this meat have not yet been identified. [CDC]
  • Virginia Tech researchers have been granted $1 million from the Department of Agriculture to study how long the novel coronavirus can live on food and food packaging. While health experts say there has not yet been evidence that people can get infected with COVID-19 from food, this kind of fomite transmission still deserves more scrutiny and study. [The Counter]
  • Bacardi is switching biodegradable plastic bottles by 2023. [Food Dive]
  • Boston Market is going for the late-night crowd with sliders stuffed with its signature rotisserie meats. [NRN]
  • Guinness is making a nonalcoholic version of its famous stout. [Food Dive]
  • Uber founder Travis Kalanick has spent $130 million buying 40 properties for his CloudKitchens “ghost kitchen” venture. [Marker]
  • Insurrection in the NYT Cooking Facebook group, as members push back against moderators’ alleged removal of non-food posts encouraging others to vote:

All AM Intel Coverage [E]

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