Caribou Coffee Company Inc. is merging with the Joh. A. Benckiser Group. The transaction is about $340 million; an affiliate of JAB, which is also a major stakeholder in Peet's Coffee & Tea Inc., will acquire Caribou for $16 per share in cash, according to a company press release. The agreement, which has been unanimously approved by Caribou's independent directors, represents a premium of about 30 percent over Caribou's closing stock price on Dec. 14.

At the close of the transaction, Caribou, based in Minneapolis, Minn., will stay there and operate as an independent company with its own brand, management team and growth strategy.

Michael Tattersfield, president and CEO of Caribou, said he expects the merger to mean tremendous growth opportunities for the chain.

"Caribou has a fantastic brand and unique culture, and fits perfectly with JAB's investment philosophy of investing in premium and unique brands in attractive growth categories like coffee," said Bart Becht, chairman of Joh. A. Benckiser Group. "JAB is committed to investing in Caribou as a standalone business out of Minneapolis to ensure the company continues its current highly successful track record."

Under the terms of the merger agreement, an affiliate of JAB will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Caribou's common stock at a price of $16 per share in cash. Following successful completion of the tender offer, JAB will acquire all remaining shares not tendered in the offer through a second-step merger at the same price as in the tender offer.

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