Dunkin’ Brands May Consider Buying a Franchised Brand

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., owner of the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins dining chains, would consider buying a franchised restaurant company, said Chief Executive Officer Nigel Travis.

“We could take on another business if it’s a franchise business with growth,” Travis said in a phone interview today. “We would be extra cautious in whatever we would take on and it has to fit our mantra of a great brand with franchising potential.”

“It’s highly unlikely to be soon,” he said.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which is almost 100 percent franchised, has recently attracted Americans with new fare such as sliced-turkey breakfast sandwiches and a loyalty program. The chain today reported that sales at stores open at least a year were up 3.5 percent in the U.S. during the fourth quarter.

Shares of the Canton, Massachusetts-based company rose 3.4 percent to $48.89 at the close in New York. They lost 3.5 percent last month, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index slumped 5.7 percent.

U.S. eateries have been investing in and acquiring other brands to help spur sales. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. in December bought a stake in fast-casual restaurant Pizzeria Locale and has said it may become the majority owner. Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. last year invested in a dining chain called PizzaRev.

Dunkin’ Brands has more than 18,000 locations worldwide and had $256.9 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Dec. 28.

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