Whoa: Caribou Coffee is buying Bruegger's Bagels

Caribou is already tight with Einstein Bros. Bagels – so what's going on?
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Bruegger's Bagels will soon have a Minnesota-based owner: Caribou Coffee.

Le Duff, the Dallas-based company that currently owns Bruegger's, announced Thursday morning it agreed to sell the bagel chain to Caribou for a price it won't be revealing.

There are more than 260 Bruegger's across the country now (41 of which are in Minnesota), and the company has been in business for 35 years.

Those shops, once the deal closes in September as anticipated, will soon be owned by the Minneapolis-based Caribou Coffee. Caribou says it's the second-largest company-operated premium coffeehouse in America, with 400 locations (though some are licensed) in 18 states.

The two businesses aren't strangers. They partnered on some joint locations years ago, but Bruegger's was pushed out by Einstein Bagels, the Business Journal reported in 2015. There are currently about 20 of these Coffee & Bagel joint locations in Minnesota.

Caribou's owners already have a bagel shop: Einstein

Now Bruegger's and Einstein are siblings.

Caribou and Einstein are both owned by JAB Holding Company, a Luxembourg-based, privately-held holding group. JAB bought Caribou in 2012 for $340 million.

Two years later JAB purchased Einstein Bros. Bagels, and since then has vacuumed up more and more breakfast bakery options.

The company bought Keurig, paid $7.5 billion for Panera, landed Peet's Coffee and Espresso House, and purchased Krispy Creme.

And soon you can add Bruegger's to that portfolio.

The New York Times once described JAB as "on a caffeine-fueled binge to roll up the global coffee industry."

Quartz meanwhile said JAB is "on a mission to control your breakfast."

So what plans are there, if any, for a tighter Bruegger's-Caribou relationship? And how does this fit with Einstein Bros. Bagels? They haven't said yet. 

But keep an eye on where things go.

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