Krispy Kreme owner buys Panera Bread for $7 billion

JAB Holdings Inc., the company that owns Krispy Kreme, Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels, among other groups, has purchased Panera Bread for more than $7 billion, Panera announced Tuesday.

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According to Reuters, the move is the biggest-ever U.S. restaurant deal.

The deal is the second largest restaurant deal ever made in North America, The Associated Press reported. The biggest was the buyout of Tim Hortons fast food chain in 2014 by the parent company of Burger King, 3G Capital.

JAB agreed to purchase Panera for approximately $7.5 billion at $315 a share. The investment firm will acquire Panera's $340 million debt. It will also turn Panera into a private company.

The deal is set to be finalized in the third quarter.

Ron Shaich, founder, chairman and CEO of Panera, said the deal will allow Panera to explore more options in digital ordering technology and to focus on using healthier ingredients, CNN reported.

"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," Shaich said in a statement. "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 deep commitment to our strategic plan."

“We have long admired Ron and the incredible success story has has created at Panera,” Olivier Goudet, JAB partner and CEO, said in a statement. “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.”

Panera, founded in the 1980s, was previously owned by Au Bon Pain Co. There are about 2,000 locations of the bakery-cafe restaurants in the U.S.

JAB also has non hospitality holdings, including popular shoe brand Jimmy Choo.

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