The speculation has ended. Panera Bread is selling.
Yesterday (April 5) the quick-service restaurant chain announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with JAB Holding Co., the investment firm that owns Caribou Coffee, Krispy Kreme and Peet’s Coffee, among others. Under the agreement, JAB will pay $315 per Panera share in cash. All told, the deal is said to be worth $7.5 billion.
Upon the news, Panera (PNRA) stock jumped up well over 13 percent to hit all-time highs above $300 and rising. As it stands now, JAB will still be paying a premium for Panera, though less so than upon prior PNRA stock values.
Panera cofounder, chairman and CEO Ron Shaich said in the company’s merger announcement, “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. We believe this transaction with JAB offers the best way to continue to operate with this approach.”
The agreement was unanimously approved by Panera’s Board of Directors, the company said. The transaction is slated to finalize in the third quarter of 2017. Once done, Panera will be privately held.
To date, Panera reports running over 2,000 store locations, which bring in some $5 billion in sales and are staffed by more than 100,000 employees. Additionally, Panera has reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue for the last six fiscal quarters.
Rumors began circulating in the days before Panera and JAB announced the merger agreement. Panera’s stock price rose in pre-market trading on Tuesday as investors optimism grew amid reports that the QSR chain faced a sale.