Panera to be sold in $7.5 billion transaction

Panera Bread Company, which has six locations in Delaware, has entered into a merger agreement with JAB Holding Company. JAB has controlling stakes in Krispy Kreme, Keurig Green Mountain, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and Jimmy Choo, the luxury shoe company.

JAB will buy Panera for approximately $7.56 billion and assume approximately $340 million in net debt. Under the agreement approved by Panera’s board of directors, JAB will acquire Panera for $315 per share in cash, about a 30 percent premium.

Panera Founder Ron Shaich called his company “ one of the most successful restaurant companies in history.” Originally a 400-square-foot cookie store in Boston, it has grown to 2,000 stores and now makes approximately $5 billion in sales. It employs more than 100,000 workers, and its shares rose by more than 8000 percent in its 20-year history.

“The themes we have bet on – digital, wellness, loyalty, omni-channel, new formats for growth – are shaping the restaurant industry today,” Shaich said.

Panera’s company-owned store sales rose $5.3 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter in 2016. The sale is expected to close during the third quarter, subject to the approval of Panera shareholders. After the close, Panera will be privately held.

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