Panera Brands, the casual dining group owned by investment group JAB, has confidentially filed paperwork for an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S., according to sources familiar with the matter. The Missouri-based group is planning to go public in 2024, signaling a potential revival in the market for new listings after a two-year slowdown.
Earlier this year, JAB attempted to sell Panera Brands to itself through a continuation fund but failed to gain support. As a result, the European-based group decided in mid-November to take Panera public. To prepare for the IPO, Panera announced plans to lay off 17% of its workforce, aiming to streamline the business and enhance its financial performance.
J.P. Morgan Chase has been appointed as the lead underwriter for the IPO. However, Panera, J.P. Morgan, and JAB declined to comment on the matter.
The IPO market has experienced a sharp slowdown in the past two years, primarily due to rising interest rates, falling valuations, and poor performance of recently-listed companies’ shares. In 2021, companies have raised only $20 billion in U.S. IPOs, a significant decline of nearly 90% compared to 2021. Despite this, a recent rally in stock markets and expectations of interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve have renewed confidence in the IPO market.
Panera Brands is not the only company considering an IPO. Fast-fashion group Shein has also filed preliminary confidential IPO documents, potentially leading to one of the largest U.S. listings of the past decade. Additionally, other companies like Reddit and StockX have resumed talks with potential IPO investors after previous plans were disrupted by market volatility.
Panera Brands was acquired by JAB in a $7.5 billion deal in 2017. The company owns several brands, including Panera Bread, Caribou Coffee, and Einstein Bros Bagels. In recent months, Panera Brands has undergone management changes in preparation for the IPO. José Alberto Dueñas, former CEO of Einstein Bagels, took over as the head of Panera Brands in May, and IPO veteran Paul Carbone was appointed as the chief financial officer in August.
The IPO filing by Panera Brands, along with the potential listings of other companies, reflects a growing optimism in the market for new listings. While the IPO market has faced challenges in recent years, the current rally in stock markets and expectations of interest rate cuts have created a favorable environment for companies seeking to go public.