JAB Holding in pact to buy US bakery chain Panera Bread for $7.2 bn

JAB Holding Co, the owner of Keurig Green Mountain and Caribou Coffee, yesterday struck a deal to buy US bakery chain Panera Bread Co for $7.2 billion, including debt of $340 million.

Under the terms of the proposed acquisition, JAB will pay $315 a share, a premium of around 30 per cent over its recent average trading price.

JAB Holding said the transaction would be carried out through an investment vehicle known as JAB BV, part of JAB Consumer Fund.

Post closing, Panera would be privately held and continue to be operated independently by the company's current management team.

Ronald Shaich, Panera's founder and CEO, and entities affiliated holding about 15.5 per cent of the company's shares, have agreed to vote in favor of the transaction.

"We strongly support Panera's vision for the future, strategic initiatives, culture of innovation, and balanced company versus franchise store mix," JAB partner and CEO Olivier Goudet said in a statement. "We are excited to invest in and work together with the company's management team and franchisees to continue to lead the industry."

Panera Bread is a bakery-café fast casual restaurant chain operating in the US and Canada employing more than 100,000 people and generates annual revenues of $5 billion.

Founded in 1987, 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.

JAB Holding is the investment vehicle of Germany's billionaire Reimann family and focuses on investments in companies with premium brands in the consumer goods sector.

The Luxembourg-based group owns controlling stakes in Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Keurig Green Mountain, global beauty products major Coty Inc, luxury goods makers Jimmy Choo, Bally, Belstaff, hygiene and home products giant Reckitt Benckiser, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, among others.