In a year sorely lacking in truly transformative transactions, the $620 million purchase by Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) of Teavana Holdings Inc. (NYSE: TEA) comes closest to our idea of leveraging M&A to take a company into new territory. Through the deal, the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world expands into the realm of tea retail.

"Together, Starbucks and Teavana are embarking on the next chapter of a journey that we believe will reinvent the way the world enjoys tea, just as Starbucks did decades ago for coffee," enthused Jeff Hansberry (pictured), president of channel development and emerging brands for Starbucks, in a blog post on the last day of the year. It was a day that marked the close of the transaction -- just in time to take advantage of the business-friendly tax code, and just in time to qualify for our annual awards.

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