JAB Holding agreed to buy US bakery chain Panera Bread for about $7.5 billion, adding to a food empire that spans coffee, bagels and doughnuts.
Panera investors will receive $315 per share in cash, the companies said in a statement Wednesday. That’s 20 per cent higher than the closing price on March 31, the last trading day before Bloomberg reported Panera was considering a sale after receiving interest.
The agreement includes assumption of $340 million in debt.
JAB, a closely held business group backed by Austria’s billionaire Reimann family, is encroaching on the territory of Starbucks, which was the first company to express takeover interest for Panera, two people familiar with the situation have told Bloomberg. Panera adds another U.S. brand to the JAB’s growing caffeine empire, which includes Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Keurig Green Mountain, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Peet’s Coffee & Tea.
In the US, JAB has developed a fleet of co-branded restaurants called Coffee & Bagels, offering Caribou java and Einstein Bros. bagels. Panera would push the food conglomerate in a new direction, giving it greater access to the lunch and dinner crowd.
The bakery chain, which operates more than 2,000 cafes across the US and Canada, has grown steadily in recent years, becoming one of the largest operators in the fast casual segment.
News by Bloomberg, edited by Hospitality Ireland