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Dunkin’ expects warm response from new investors

NEW YORK — Shares of Dunkin’ Donuts parent company are set to start trading Wednesday morning after pricing at $19 per share, more than the $16 to $18 range it predicted two weeks ago.

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., which also owns the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain, sold about 22.3 million shares. That means it raised about $423 million before deducting underwriting expenses.

The underwriters, which include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley & Co., and Barclays Capital Inc., also have the option to buy 3.3 more million shares in the next month. If they do, Dunkin’ would raise about $486 million.

Either way, Dunkin’ would raise more than it originally forecast: When the company first announced its intentions to go public in May, it said it expected to raise about $400 million.

Dunkin’ Brands said it plans to use the money to pay down its substantial debt.

The company, based in Canton, Mass., wants to grow outside its U.S. stronghold, the Northeast. It also is expanding internationally, with South Korea and the Middle East on its radar. The company says it has no plans to pay shareholder dividends “for the foreseeable future.”

The company’s current owners, a coterie of three private equity firms, will continue to play a powerful role at the company even after it goes public.

Together, Bain Capital Partners, Carlyle Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners will own as much as 78 percent of the public Dunkin’ Brands, which will make it nearly impossible for any dissident shareholders to effect substantial changes. The three firms control six of the nine seats on the board of directors.

Shares will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “DNKN.”

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