As it’s grown from a strorefront in Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto into a major player in the retail coffee business, Peet’s Coffee and Tea has had a varied and complex corporate history. Now a new chapter begins for the company started by Alfred Peet in 1966. On Monday, the publicly traded Emeryville-based company announced that a German company was buying it for nearly $1 billion.
Joh. A Benckiser is paying $79.50 a share for Peet’s, which is a premium of 29 percent over the closing stock price on Friday, according to Reuters.
"We are very excited about this next chapter in Peet's rich history," said Patrick O'Dea, President and CEO of Peet's. "Over many years we've demonstrated an unyielding commitment to craft coffees and teas of uncompromised quality. This commitment is what has distinguished the Peet's brand among all others and will continue to guide us as we go forward."
Peet’s revenue shot up by 11 percent last year, to nearly $372 million. At the same time, profit rose to nearly $18 million.
Ten months ago, interviewed employees about a sea change in the culture of the organization. They said the company was lowering costs low by firing employees for minor offenses and stepping up demands to work faster and sell more aggressively.
One told Henry she was pressured into signing an agreement that waived her right to a lunch break during six-hour shifts.
Longtime Peet’s fans, tell us what you think? Did you notice a difference in your brew when Starbucks owned Peet’s in the 1980s? Was there a perceptible change in your chai during its years as a public company? What do you think about Peet’s going private again?