Community Relieved Keurig To Remain In Vermont After Acquisition
Keurig Green Mountain announced yesterday that Luxembourg-based JAB Holding Company would acquire the Waterbury, Vermont-based company for nearly $14 billion a share, nearly 78 percent above last Friday’s closing stock price. The parties say the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016, keeps the company headquartered in Vermont and will no jobs will be lost.
The deal will require shareholder approval and has already been unanimously approved by Keurig Green Mountain’s Board of Directors.
The acquisition will make it a privately owned company. According to the press release announcing the sale of the company, Keurig Green Mountain will operate independently by the company's management team and employees and will remain headquartered in Waterbury.
Municipal manager for the town and village of Waterbury Bill Shepeluk says he had no idea the sale was looming. He says it is a huge boon to have the company headquartered in the town and is thrilled that the holding company says it will remain. “They employ probably close to 600 people I would guess in Waterbury, at least they did before the layoffs and we’re very happy that they’re here and we’d like to have them continue to be here.”
Keurig Green Mountain’s employment base is important to an area still recovering from Tropical Storm Irene. The state office complex in Waterbury is being rebuilt after the 2011 storm while Keurig’s properties were undamaged, according to Shepeluk. “To keep that employment base and that activity here uninterrupted from before the flood right through now has been very, very important. You know they just did go through a lay off and I think about 200 people from Waterbury were affected by that lay off that layoff that was announced a couple of months ago. But even with that they still employ in the hundreds here.”
Governor Peter Shumlin, who is in France attending the climate change conference in Paris, issued a statement expressing relief that Keurig Green Mountain will remain based in Vermont with no workforce reductions. University of Vermont Economist Art Wolfe says it’s too early to tell if over the long-term the company will hold to that promise. “The JAB Holdings may have some other plans they’re not revealing. But they may also not know. They may be pretty content to leave the company here and they also may think that in the long term maybe it’s best for the company if they moved somewhere else. But they will never say that publically. No matter what their plans are I wouldn’t expect there to be any major changes in employment over the next year or so.”
State Representative Theresa Wood is from Waterbury. She says there is some anxiety in the town, but they’re also reassured that the sale will not affect the presence of the company nor employment especially in the wake of 200 layoffs earlier this year. “I think that people are feeling guardedly optimistic about the statements that the company’s making. Just this month, next week in fact, some of the state employees are returning back to the new Waterbury state office complex. The downtown businesses are gearing up to welcome back over a thousand employees back into the downtown. We don’t want a trade-off. You know we don’t want to welcome those employees back and on the flip side have a major employer in town leave the area. And so far that doesn’t seem to be the case.”
Keurig Green Mountain is the largest company with headquarters in Vermont. It has about 6,000 employees globally with 2,000 in Vermont. Nearly 600 are at the corporate headquarters in Waterbury, according to Shepeluk. The company also has production, distribution and research and development facilities in Williston, Essex, South Burlington, and Waterbury Center.