Peet's Coffee Sold For Nearly $1 Billion

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Joh. A. Benckiser is buying the coffee chain that Dutch-born Alfred Peet started in Berkeley, Calif., in the 1960s. The shop inspired Starbucks' founders, and Peet taught them how to roast coffee. Unlike Starbucks, Peet's stayed small, with about 200 stores. The headquarters will remain in northern California.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is for Peet's sake.

(SOUNDBITE OF COFFEE GRINDER)

INSKEEP: And that's the sound of a coffee grinder.

(SOUNDBITE OF COFFEE GRINDER)

INSKEEP: Really cranking up, there. We had to go a long way to get that sound. Actually, it's the sound of a coffee grinder inside NPR. It's a very welcome sound at MORNING EDITION.

We've put many brands of coffee in that grinder, including Peet's coffee. It's a coffee company set up by Dutch-born Alfred Peet. He opened his first shop in Berkeley, California in the 1960s, and he inspired the founders of Starbucks, taught them how to roast coffee and how to do dark-roast beans. Unlike Starbucks, Peet's stayed small. There are about 200 stores, and the product is in grocery stores.

Lately, the company's been struggling with high coffee bean prices. But now Peet's is getting a jolt. The German conglomerate Joh. A. Benckiser is buying the coffee chain for nearly $1 billion. Peet's headquarters will remain in Northern California.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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