What Is JAB? Owner of Panera, Snapple and Krispy Kreme Faces Its Nazi Past

The average person probably hasn’t heard of JAB Holding. The same can’t be said for the vast empire of brands — a stable that includes Keurig coffee pods, Dr Pepper, Snapple, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Krispy Kreme doughnuts — it amassed in years of deal-making. Here’s how the conglomerate, whose controlling family is now grappling with its Nazi past, flourished.

[Read our article about the Nazi past behind JAB Holding, and the company’s efforts to atone.]

JAB grew out of the personal fortune of the Reimann family, which founded the German chemical company Benckiser. (The company was previously known as Joh. A. Benckiser, for one of the family patriarchs.) Benckiser eventually merged with Reckitt & Colman of Britain to become Reckitt Benckiser, whose holdings include Durex condoms, Lysol cleaner and Clearasil.

In 1992, JAB bought control of Coty, a cosmetics maker, from Pfizer. Since then, it has become an industry giant, assembling an array of celebrity-backed fragrances, as well as those from well-known brands like Calvin Klein.

The company gained a new level of prominence in 2012 when it unsuccessfully bid nearly $11 billion for Avon Products, a better-known but struggling rival.

JAB made its biggest misstep as part of a yearslong effort to extend its reach into the luxury fashion sector. Over the years, the company acquired brands like Jimmy Choo, Bally and Belstaff, only to sell them off as it sharpened its focus on the more profitable food and coffee sectors.

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