Peet's Coffee & Tea Sold for $1 Billion

Contrary to widespread speculation, it wasn't Starbucks that bought the chain, which has a couple of locations in San Rafael.

Coffee chain Peet's Coffee & Tea announced Monday that investment firm Joh. A. Benckiser had purchased the Bay Area company for $73.50 per share in cash, or $1 billion.

In San Rafael, there is a Peet’s  and in Terra Linda.

In recent years, Peet’s has been on the buyer's and seller's end of rumors about coffee chain takeovers. Most recently,  was believed to be the top contender to buy the San Francisco-based chain. Before that, Peet’s was thought to be interested in buying the Irvine-based Diedrich Coffee.

Monday's agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the Peet's Board of Directors, represents a premium of approximately 29 percent over Peet's closing stock price on Friday, the company announced. When the sale is completed, Peet’s will be privately owned, but the current staff will remain in place, according to a company statement.

"In my experience it is rare to find a company and a brand as special as Peet's,” said Jean-Michel Valette, chairman of the board of Peet's. “We are pleased that JAB recognizes this and that Peet's existing shareholders will be rewarded with significant value."

Benckiser also owns luxury goods company Labelux with brands such as Jimmy Choo and Bally.

"At JAB, we are committed to owning and investing in companies with strong, premier-quality brands and great people whose values we share," said Bart Becht, chairman of JAB. "Peet's is just such a company and we look forward to preserving the company's culture and core values while supporting management's vision for future growth."

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