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Krispy Kreme reportedly near deal to buy Insomnia Cookies

Report says the JAB-backed doughnut chain wants to take on the fast-growing cookie concept, says RB’s The Bottom Line.
Insomnia Cookies

The Bottom Line

JAB Holding Co. apparently wants to snack on cookies.

JAB-owned Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is apparently near a deal to buy Insomnia Cookies, a chain that delivers warm cookies until 3 a.m.

The deal, according to CNBC, would value the cookie chain at less than $500 million. That’s a lot of cookies.

Insomnia Cookies did not return a request for comment Thursday. Neither did Krispy Kreme.

Yet the deal would give Krispy Kreme one of the quietest hot growth chains in the country. Insomnia was started in 2004 by Seth Berkowitz, who made cookies while he attended the University of Pennsylvania and handed them out to his fellow students late into the night.

Today, the chain has more than 110 company-operated locations across the country. The company sells cookies, brownies, milk and ice cream with mix-ins. Its menu features several different types of cookies, including Chocolate Chunk, M&Ms, Peanut Butter Chip and everyone’s favorite, Oatmeal Raisin.

Cookie businesses are remarkable. A franchisee of Mrs. Fields once told me that “I’d own as many of them as I could get—if anybody would sell their restaurants.”

Consumers will frequently treat themselves to cookies, even when things are going bad, making the concepts somewhat recession-proof. And you can order a whole bunch of them for a meeting, making the business scalable.

Insomnia is built for today’s business. Unlike other cookie concepts that locate in malls or other shopping centers, it opens tiny units in urban areas and on college campuses, and it delivers, making Insomnia the Domino’s of the cookie business. (It even has a Cookie Tracker on its website.)

Krispy Kreme has long tried focusing more on coffee. But as part of JAB Holding, which owns all sorts of coffee concepts such as Peet’s and Caribou, the company can concentrate on treats. And the warm cookies sold by Insomnia would be a natural fit next to the hot glazed doughnuts at Krispy Kreme.

Indeed, Krispy Kreme and Insomnia would be one delicious merger.

The potential deal would also add to the massive collection of restaurant chains JAB has been amassing over the past several years, including the aforementioned concepts along with Panera Bread, Au Bon Pain, Pret A Manger, Intelligentsia Coffee, Stumptown Coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Bruegger's Bagels, among others.

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