JAB buys majority stake in Britain’s Pret A Manger: Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – JAB Holdings, the private company of Germany’s billionaire Reimann family, is expanding its coffee empire with a majority stake in British sandwich and coffee shop chain Pret A Manger.

Luxembourg-based JAB is buying Pret from private equity firm Bridgepoint and other minority investors for an undisclosed sum, Pret said on Tuesday.

A Pret spokeswoman declined to comment on the value of the deal, but the Financial Times reported earlier that the price was 1.5 billion pounds ($2 billion) including debt.

The deal marks the latest in a string of coffee industry acquisitions by JAB, including Keurig Green Mountain and Peet’s Coffee & Tea, as it looks to challenge Swiss food and beverage giant Nestle (NESN.S).

Nestle, the world’s biggest coffee company, struck a $7.15 billion licensing deal with Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) this month.

Pret opened its first shop in London in 1986 and now generates revenue of 879 million pounds ($1.17 billion) from 530 stores in countries including the United States and China.

Bridgepoint bought a majority stake in the chain a decade ago for about 345 million pounds and had been examining a potential stock market listing before opting to sell to JAB.

“Management’s proven track record and commitment to customer service, investment in innovation and approach to freshly prepared food position Pret well as it capitalizes on evolving consumer taste and lifestyle preferences,” said JAB Chief Executive Olivier Goudet.