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Inspire Brands has agreed to buy Dunkin' Brands for approximately $11.3 billion.

Inspire Brands to buy Dunkin' Brands for $11.3 billion

The owner of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, Jimmy John’s and Rusty Taco will acquire Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins to create one of the world's largest restaurant companies

Inspire Brands Inc. and Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. have made a definitive agreement to merge the two restaurant companies, with Inspire to buy Dunkin for $106.50 a share, for a total of approximately $11.3 billion, including assumption of Dunkin’s debt, the companies said Friday.

The merger brings Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins into Inspire’s existing portfolio of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, Jimmy John’s and Rusty Taco. With the merger, Inspire Brands' restaurants have $26 billion in systemwide sales and more than 31,600 restaurants in more than 60 countries, according to a statement from the two companies. It will make Inspire one of the largest restaurant companies in the world.

Inspire Brands is majority owned by affiliates of Atlanta-based private-equity firm Roark Capital, and its acquisition of Dunkin’ Brands, which is expected to be concluded by the end of the year, will take that company private.

“Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins are category leaders with more than 70 years of rich heritage, and together they are two of the most iconic restaurant brands in the world,” Inspire Brands CEO Paul Brown said in the release announcing the merger. “By joining Inspire, these brands will add complementary guest experiences and occasions to our current portfolio. Further, they will strengthen Inspire through their scaled international platform and robust consumer packaged goods licensing infrastructure, as well as add more than 15 million loyalty members. We are excited to welcome Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins’ employees, franchisees, and suppliers to the Inspire family.”

Dunkin’ Brands CEO Dave Hoffmann, said the purchase confirmed the caliber of Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins’ operations.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to our world-class group of franchisees, licensees, employees, and suppliers who have worked together to transform Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins into modern, relevant brands,” he said in the release. “This team’s grit and determination has enabled us to deliver outsized performance and made our brands among the most elite in the quick service industry. I am particularly proud of our actions since March of this year. During the global pandemic, we have stood tall. We’ve had each other’s backs and are now stronger than ever. We are excited to bring meaningful value to shareholders who have been with us on this journey and believe that Inspire Brands, a preeminent operator of franchised restaurant concepts, will continue to drive growth for our franchisees while remaining true to all that is unique and special about the Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins brands.”

Under Hoffman’s leadership Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins’ same-store sales returned to positive territory in the most recently ended quarter as the two concepts adjusted to the realities of the pandemic through new takeout and delivery platforms and menu items that suited the changing needs of their customers.

Word of the merger first emerged on Sunday.

Barclays is serving as financial advisor to Inspire Brands and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is serving as its legal counsel.

BofA Securities, Inc. is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Dunkin’ Brands and Ropes & Gray LLP is serving as its legal counsel.

Inspire Brands was formed in February of 2018, when Arby’s acquired Buffalo Wild Wings, which itself owned Rusty Taco.

Inspire bought Sonic in December of that year, and Jimmy John’s, which already was owned by another Roark affiliate, in the fall of 2019.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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