Huge news from the national restaurant scene was announced Wednesday.
According to multiple sources, Panera Bread, one of America’s largest restaurant chains, is being sold to JAB Holdings Inc. for $7.5 billion. JAB is most famously known as the owner of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., although they also own entities such as Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Keurig Green Mountain and most of Caribou Coffee.
“We believe this transaction with JAB offers the best way to continue to operate with this approach,” Panera Founder and CEO Ron Shaich said in a press release. “We are pleased to join with JAB, a private investor with an equally long-term perspective, as well as a deep commitment to our strategic plan.”
Since starting as a one-person operation in a 400-square-foot cookie store in Boston several years ago, Panera has grown to become one of the most successful restaurant companies in history. Currently they have over 2,000 stores with approximately $5 billion in sales and over 100,000 employees.
“We have long admired Ron and the incredible success story he has created at Panera. I have great respect for the strong business that he, together with his management team, its franchisees and its associates, has built,” Olivier Goudet, JAB Partner and CEO said in the press release. “We strongly support Panera’s vision for the future, strategic initiatives, culture of innovation, and balanced company versus franchise store mix. We are excited to invest in and work together with the Company’s management team and franchisees to continue to lead the industry.”
JAB Holdings Inc. agreed to pay Panera $315 per share, which is a 20 percent increase over Panera’s all-time high for stock price. The deal includes taking over $340 million in Panera debt and it is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017.
Although the agreement is in place, it still requires the approval of Panera shareholders. That being said though, Shaich has agreed to vote his 15.5 percent ownership stake in favor of the deal, so the agreement is very likely to be completed.