This week, Panera Bread had something of a reunion with an old acquaintance; the nationwide bakery and restaurant chain announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Boston-based Au Bon Pain Holding Co. Inc., parent company of Au Bon Pain.
The acquisition will bring two company’s with a history of shared ownership together again, according to a Panera press release. Ron Shaich, Panera’s Founder, Chairman, and CEO, and his late partner, Louis Kane, created Au Bon Pain Co. Inc. in 1981. The company went public in 1991 and acquired Saint Louis Bread Company in 1993. Saint Louis Bread was then renamed Panera and, in 1999, Au Bon Pain was sold so that all human and capital resources available at that time could be focused on Panera.
“With the acquisition we are announcing today, we are bringing Au Bon Pain and Panera together again. This acquisition offers the strategic opportunity for us to grow in several new real estate channels, including hospitals, universities, transportation centers, and urban locations, among others,” noted Shaich in the company’s release.
Au Bon Pain, a comparable bakery-cafe chain, has 304 units worldwide, and the company noted its acquisition will be part of Panera’s initiative to intensify growth in new real estate channels, including hospitals, universities, transportation centers and urban locations, among others.
Au Bon Pain locations will join Panera’s expansive bakery-restaurant footprint. As of Sept. 26, 2017, there were 2,050 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.,® or Paradise Bakery & Cafe® names.
Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close during the fourth quarter, were not disclosed. For more developments in the dairy, deli, and bakery industries, stay tuned to Deli Market News.