Dutch coffee industry giant D.E. Master Blenders 1753, which spun off from Sara Lee last June, says it is in talks to be acquired by Joh. A. Benckiser Group for $9.7 billion. JAB is the German investment group that acquired a majority of the U.S. companies Peet’s Coffee & Tea last October and Caribou Coffee last December.
JAB currently owns a 15 percent stake in D.E. Master Blenders, whose name references its largest coffee brand, Douwe Egberts. In its first report to stakeholders last October, D.E. Master Blenders reported slower-than-anticipated sales growth in some key international markets, including Germany. By the close of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange yesterday, the company’s shares were up 26 percent. D.E. Master Blenders says the negotiations are in the early stages and that it is reviewing a preliminary offer from JAB.