New owner comes up with bread

Staff Reports

ST. LOUIS — Panera is being acquired by a holding company that owns controlling stakes in Keurig Green Mountain and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

The company has entered into a merger agreement with JAB, in which JAB will acquire Panera for $315 per share in cash in a transaction valued at about $7.5 billion, the two companies announced Wednesday.

As of Dec. 27, there were 2,036 Panera bakery-cafes in the United States, including one in Columbus. Panera also has stores operating under Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co. and Paradise Bakery & Cafe.

Ron Shaich, Panera founder and CEO, said the company started as a 400-square-foot cookie store in Boston and has grown to a system with about $5 billion in sales and more than 100,000 employees. The company shares its unsold bread and baked goods with people in need.

In addition to Keurig and Krispy Kreme, JAB has controlling stakes in Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co., Espresso House and Einstein Noah Restaurant Group. The company is also the largest shareholder in Coty, Inc. and owns controlling interests in Jimmy Choo, Bally and Belstaff.

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