• Sara Michalowicz

Owner of Krispy Kreme Buys Panera Bread Chain

Photo courtesy of kvpi.com

JAB, the investment firm that owns Krispy Kreme and many coffee brands – including Keurig – announced they will make a deal to acquire Panera Bread for $7 billion and turn it into a private company. After the announcement of a trade surfaced, shares of Panera surged nearly 15 percent.

Photo courtesy of ABC.com

Panera, which has more than 2,300 locations and about $5 billion in annual sales, is one of the most successful fast-casual food chains. Panera introduced high quality ingredients than their fast-food competitors and gives their customers myriad healthy options.

Technologically, Panera has stayed ahead of the curve by making Wi-Fi available in their locations and have introduced digital ordering kiosks earlier than many competitors. Over the past few years, these advances have reported strong sales and profits.

JAB spokesman Tom Johnson stated, “JAB’s investment philosophy with companies it acquires is they operate independently and continue to be managed by their management,” and “[that] there’s no plan to integrate with other assets in the portfolio.”

The investment firm plans to maintain the current executive leadership and CEO and founder of Panera, Rob Shaich.

Photo courtesy of "salads."

JAB partner and CEO Oliver Goudet stated that he and the rest of his team “strongly support Panera's vision for the future, strategic initiatives, culture of innovation and balanced company versus franchise store mix.”

With this statement, it is safe to say that all lovers of Panera’s soup and sandwiches should not expect any major menu changes because of the deal. Although Panera is known for its sandwiches, it is also a major seller of coffee.

Considering that JAB is privately held, it doesn’t disclose much about its strategies or intentions, but it does own other breakfast and coffee shops, including Caribou Coffee, Peet’s Coffee and Tea and even Einstein Bros. Bagels.

JAB and Panera hope to close the deal in the third quarter of this year.

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