Panera Bread and JAB 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, including the assumption of approximately $340 million of net debt.
JAB is acquiring Panera through JAB BV, an investment vehicle of JAB Consumer Fund and JAB Holding Company. JAB Consumer Fund is backed by a group of like-minded, long-term oriented investors and, together with JAB Holding Company, invests in companies with premium brands, attractive growth and strong margin dynamics in the Consumer Goods category.
The agreement, unanimously approved by Panera’s Board of Directors, represents a premium of approximately 30% to the 30-day volume-weighted average stock price as of March 31, 2017, the last trading day prior to news reports speculating about a potential transaction, and a premium of approximately 20% to Panera’s all-time high closing stock price as of that same date.
“By any measure, Panera has been one of the most successful restaurant companies in history,” said Ron Shaich, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Panera. “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. In more than 25 years as a publicly traded company, Panera has created significant shareholder value. Indeed, Panera has been the best performing restaurant stock of the past twenty years – up over 8,000%. Today’s transaction is a direct reflection of those efforts, and delivers substantial additional value for our shareholders.”
Shaich continued, “Over the last five years, we have developed and executed a powerful strategic plan to be a better competitive alternative with emerging runways for growth. The themes we have bet on – digital, wellness, loyalty, omni-channel, new formats for growth – are shaping the restaurant industry today. Indeed, the power of the plan is evident in our business results. Today, we are pre-releasing Q1 2017 Company-owned bakery-cafe comps of 5.3%, which is 690 bps better than the Black Box all-industry composite.”
Shaich concluded, “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. 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.”
Olivier Goudet, JAB Partner and CEO, said, “We have long admired Ron and the incredible success story he has created at Panera. I have great respect for the strong business that he, together with his management team, its franchisees and its associates, has built. We strongly support Panera’s vision for the future, strategic initiatives, culture of innovation, and balanced company versus franchise store mix. We are excited to invest in and work together with the Company’s management team and franchisees to continue to lead the industry.”
JAB Holding Company and JAB Consumer Fund have controlling stakes in Keurig Green Mountain, a leader in single-serve coffee and beverage technologies, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), the largest pure-play FMCG coffee company in the world, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, a premier specialty coffee and tea company, Caribou Coffee Company, a specialty retailer of high-quality premium coffee products, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc., a leading company in the quick-casual segment of the restaurant industry, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, a global specialty retailer and wholesaler of premium-quality sweet treats, and in Espresso House, the largest branded coffee shop chain in Scandinavia.
The transaction is not subject to a financing condition and is expected to close during the third quarter of 2017, subject to the approval of Panera shareholders and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals.