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Shaq buys historic Krispy Kreme store, teams up with donut chain

/ 12:16 PM October 25, 2016
Former NBA player Shaquille O' Neal AFP FILE PHOTO

Former NBA player Shaquille O’ Neal AFP FILE PHOTO

After his illustrious career as one of the most dominant presence ever to play in the NBA, recently enshrined Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal has made a number of financial investments.

His latest and perhaps biggest purchase is Krispy Kreme’s historic branch on Ponce de Leon Avenue in downtown Atlanta, which first opened in 1965.

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The towering TNT analyst, who’s a self-confessed doughnut lover, will also serve as the global spokesman and brand ambassador for the popular donut chain.

“Krispy Kreme prides itself on spreading joy and supporting local communities, and that’s a cause that I am thrilled to be a part of,” O’Neal said in a statement on ESPN’s website. “Our goal is to help people find their happy place, and what better way than with a box of delicious Krispy Kreme doughnuts.”

Tony Thompson, president and CEO of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, also expressed his delight on having “The Big Aristotle” on board.

“In addition to Shaquille’s status as a sports and entertainment icon and businessman, he is known for spreading joy, which aligns with our positioning and mission,” he said. “We are confident this partnership will have a big impact for us in Atlanta and around the world.”

The 325-lb O’Neal considers the new ownership as a shot at redemption, after denying an offer from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to be the only franchisee in the entire company.

A similar deal was then offered to another NBA legend Magic Johnson, who went on to sell his 105 franchises back to the company in 2010 in a deal reportedly worth more than $70 million.

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Prior to aligning with Krispy Kreme, Shaq was part of a group that owned the Los Angeles rights to Five Guys—which built about 25 restaurants before selling back, while also owning Auntie Anne’s pretzel shops. He also invested in E-sports team NRG back in May.

Meanwhile, to celebrate O’Neal’s alliance with the brand, Krispy Kreme will run a social media promotion to encourage fans to post their Halloween-related moments on social media using the hashtag #ShaqOrTreat between Oct. 28 and 31. Winners will receive Shaq-autographed merchadise or Krispy Kreme “surprises.”  Khristian Ibarrola

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TAGS: Atlanta, brand ambassador, global spokesperson, historic store, investment, Krispy Kreme, ownership, partnership, Shaquille O'Neal
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