There’s a new fate in store for Panera Bread, and those who closely follow its beloved selections of salads, soups, sandwiches, and more readily prepared foods. The international chain recently entered into a definitive merger agreement by JAB Holding Company to be acquired by the privately-held company.
"Our success for shareholders is the byproduct of our commitment to long-term decision making and operating in the interest of all stakeholders, including guests, associates, and franchisees,” Panera Founder, Chairman, and CEO Ron Shaich stated. "We believe this transaction with JAB offers the best way to continue to operate with this approach. 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."
According to a press release, Panera’s cost under the agreement is valued at around $7.5 billion. JAB has agreed to pay $315 per share in cash, including the assumption of around $340 million of net debt. The deal is expected to close during the third quarter of 2017.
"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,” stated Olivier Goudet, JAB Partner and CEO. “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."
Once the acquisition finalizes, Panera will shift from its public stature to the privately-held one of its new parent. Panera will still operate independently under its management team.
JAB already has a notable foodservice portfolio. The company has also brought Peet’s Coffee, Caribou Coffee, and Krispy Kreme. Panera Bread currently boasts over 2,000 units, around $5 billion in sales, with a workforce of over 100,000 associates.
The deal was previously agreed to by Panera’s Board of Directors. Though the deal is not subject to financing conditions, it is subject to the approval of Panera shareholders and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, which includes regulatory approvals. Panera is being advised by Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC with Sullivan & Cromwell, LLP serving as legal counsel.
Where will this deal take Panera next, and how will fresh be involved? Deli Market News will report.