Why Peet's Shares Soared

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of coffee slinger Peet's Coffee & Tea (NAS: PEET) caught a wicked buzz today as they rose as much as 30% in intraday trading after German investment giant Joh. A. Benckiser reached an agreement to buy the company for $73.50 per share.

So what: It's an interesting day for Peet's shareholders. A buyout is usually a time to fist-pump, but some shareholders may not quite feel like that since the take-out price is lower than the highs the stock reached just a few months back. On the other hand, with the deal valuing the company at roughly 63 times trailing earnings, it's hard to say that Benckiser is getting Peet's on the cheap.

Perhaps, though, this won't be the final word in the matter. As of this writing, shares were trading slightly lower than the agreed-upon buyout price, but they traded at as much as $74.25 during today's trading session. That likely means that investors are betting on another suitor coming into the picture willing to pay an even higher price. The Wall Street Journal suggested that both Starbucks (NAS: SBUX) and Kraft (NAS: KFT) could be in a position to do just that.

Now what: Personally, I'd be hesitant to bet on a higher offer coming in for Peet's. Even when we look out to estimated full-year 2012 earnings, Benckiser's offer is still a rich multiple of 42. Would Starbucks or Kraft really be willing to pay more than that?

On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be a significant amount of risk to shareholders who do hang around. The agreement is in place with Benckiser and with its subsidiary Coty fresh from the failed attempt to buy Avon (NYS: AVP) for $11 billion, the $1 billion purchase of Peet's hardly seems like a big bite.

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