Sandy Springs-based Inspire Brands buys Dunkin' Brands for $11.3B

Company that already owns Arby’s, Jimmy Johns, Sonic will now include Baskin-Robbins
Sandy Springs-based Inspire Brands will purchase the Dunkin' Brands Group, according to reports.  (AJC file photo)

Sandy Springs-based Inspire Brands will purchase the Dunkin' Brands Group, according to reports. (AJC file photo)

After some speculation and reports, Sandy Springs-based restaurant company Inspire Brands will purchase the Dunkin' Brands Group Inc., the holding company that runs Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin'.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Friday that Inspire announced it will purchase the Massachusetts-based company for $11.3 billion, including debt.

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported Inspire was in talks to purchase the company.

According to a statement Friday evening from Inspire, talks to make the big purchase began before the coronavirus pandemic. Those conversations were complicated by the decline in breakfast sales from Dunkin', which has more than 12,500 locations worldwide. There are almost 8,000 Baskin-Robbins locations around the world.

“Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins are category leaders with more than 70 years of rich heritage, and together they are two of the most iconic restaurant brands in the world," Paul Brown, Inspire CEO, said in the statement. “By joining Inspire, these brands will add complementary guest experiences and occasions to our current portfolio.”

Inspire Brands was founded in February 2018. It formed from the merger of Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. In addition to those previously named restaurants, its brands include Sonic, Rusty Taco and Jimmy John’s. It bought Sonic in 2018 and Jimmy John’s in 2019.

Inspire Brands spokesman Christopher Fuller wrote in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday night that it is too early to say how the deal might affect the number of jobs the company has in metro Atlanta, where he said Inspire Brands will continue to be based. It also is too early to say whether Dunkin' Brands will keep its headquarters in Canton, Mass., he wrote.

Inspire Brands has about 1,000 people based at its Sandy Springs headquarters, after consolidating in Georgia some back office functions of chains it acquired earlier.

But it has kept the images and menus of the chains distinct. And it has retained “support centers” where the brands it acquired were based. Dunkin' Brands had about 1,100 employees as of the end of last year.

AJC staff writer Matt Kempner contributed to this article.