ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – St. Louis based Panera Bread Company and Luxembourg-based JAB today announced that the companies have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which JAB will acquire Panera for $315 per share in cash, in a transaction valued at approximately $7.5 billion, about $3.7 million for each of the chain’s 2000 locations.
The agreement was unanimously approved by Panera’s Board of Directors.
“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,” said Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich. “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.”
The transaction, which includes approximately $340 million of debt, is expected to close in the third quarter. It still needs the approval of Panera shareholders. Once the deal is complete, Panera will become privately held company.
Shares of Panera jumped more than 12 percent before the opening bell Wednesday.
JAB already owns Keurig, Green Mountain, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and several other coffee and tea companies.
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