Shares of Panera Bread PNRA opened nearly 13.5% higher on Wednesday morning after the company announced that it has sold itself to JAB, a German conglomerate that owns Krispy Kreme, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Keurig Green Mountain, and a variety of other food and drink brands.
According to a joint statement released by both companies, JAB will acquire Panera for $315 per share, a 15% premium from the bakery-café chain's previous closing price. The cash deal values Panera at about $7.5 billion.
"By any measure, Panera has been one of the most successful restaurant companies in history. What started as one 400 square foot cookie store in Boston has grown to a system with over 2,000 units, approximately $5 billion in sales, and over 100,000 associates," said Panera Bread founder and CEO Ron Shaich.
Panera has seen success in the fast-casual restaurant industry, offering a unique, café-like experience to go along with its fresh breads, sandwiches, bagels, and soups. Olivier Goudet, JAB's CEO, said that his company strongly supports "Panera's vision for the future," so it seems that major changes to this restaurant concept are unlikely.
Today's announcement also included a sneak peek at Panera's first-quarter financial results. Company-owned comparable store sales increased 5.3% in the quarter, which outperformed the Black Box all-industry composite by 690 basis points.
At the end of 2016, there were 2,036 bakery-café locations throughout North America and spread across the company's Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co., and Paradise Bakery brands. About 900 of these stores were company owned. In today's statement, Goudet said that JAB supports this "company versus franchise store mix."
The merger will depend on the approval of Panera shareholders, but both companies said that they expect the deal to close during the third quarter of 2017.
Panera's sale becomes the latest in what is becoming a trend in the retail restaurant industry. Just last week, Darden Restaurants DRI snapped up Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, and Burger King owner Restaurant Brands International QSR bought out Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen earlier this year.
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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Panera Bread Company (PNRA): Free Stock Analysis Report Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI): Free Stock Analysis Report Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research