Panera Bread receives takeover interest, explores strategic options including a sale

US bakery chain Panera Bread Co, which has a market cap of $6.58 billion, is exploring strategic options, including a sale, after receiving takeover interest, Bloomberg yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Panera Bread was working with advisers to study options. Potential suitors could include JAB Holding Co, Starbucks Corp, and Domino's Pizza, the report said.

A spokesman for JAB declined to comment, and a Domino's spokesman said the company has ''a lot more opportunity for growth in pizza, while a Starbucks spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on rumor or speculation, the report added.

Panera Bread is a bakery-café fast casual restaurant chain operating in the US and Canada.

Founded in 1987 by its current CEO Ron Shaich, Missouri-based Panera Bread operates more than 2,000 bakery-cafes across the US and Canada selling soups, salads, pasta, sandwiches, bakery items, coffee, teas, smoothies and frozen drinks.