Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin at 3154 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road in Suwanee.

Dunkin' Brands, the parent company of Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins, is in "preliminary discussions" to be acquired by private equity-backed Inspire Brands.

The potential deal was first reported by the New York Times on Sunday.

Inspire would purchase Dunkin' Brands at $106.50 per share, the Times reported, citing two people with knowledge of the negotiations. That would make the deal worth roughly $8.8 billion. The deal could be announced as early as Monday, sources told the Times.

"Dunkin' Brands confirms that it has held preliminary discussions to be acquired by Inspire Brands. There is no certainty that any agreement will be reached. Neither group will comment further unless and until a transaction is agreed," said Karen Raskopf, chief communications officer of Dunkin' Brands.

The brand was taken private back in 2005. Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins was sold by Pernod Ricard SA to three private equity firms including Bain Capital, Carlyle Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners for $2.4 billion. The company went public in 2011.

Inspire Brands declined to comment. The company, which owns Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings and several other restaurant brands, is backed by private equity group Roark Capital Group.

In 2018, Dunkin' dropped the "Donuts" from its name, to rebrand itself as a "beverage-led" company, expanding its selection of food and drinks. Earlier this year, Dunkin' announced it was permanently closing about 800 restaurants — with more than half the locations being in Speedway gas station convenience stores.

Dunkin' Brands is set to release earnings on Thursday.

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