Panera Acquiring Au Bon Pain Under Aggressive New Growth Effort

Panera Bread has reached a contract to obtain Au Bon Discomfort Holding Co., the Boston-based bakery-cafe chain of 304 units which was begun by the creators of Panera Bread.

The offer marks a new strategy for St. Louis-based Panera, which itself was gotten 3 months ago and is transitioning to brand-new leadership. It is the initial step in Panera’s “initiative to heighten growth in brand-new real estate channels, including hospitals, universities,” airports and metropolitan areas among others, the company said.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close during the fourth quarter, were not revealed.

Ron Shaich, Panera’s creator, chairman and CEO, and his late partner, Louis Kane, produced Au Bon Pain in 1981. “With the acquisition we are revealing today, we are bringing Au Bon Pain and Panera together once again,” Shaich stated.

Synchronised to the acquisition statement, Shaich likewise revealed he was stepping down as CEO Jan. 1 while remaining as the firm’s chairman.

“This is the correct time for me to step down as CEO while still remaining associated with business as chairman,” he said. “I returned in 2011 since our development was slowing and we had to rearrange Panera as a better competitive alternative with broadened growth opportunities. And I enjoy to say we’ve done just that.”

Panera has been among the best-performing openly traded dining establishment stocks of the last 20 years, delivering a total shareholder return up 86-fold from July 18, 1997, to July 18, 2017, when it was sold to JAB Holding for $315/share, offering the offer a valuation of about $7.1 billion.

The sale to JAB was a boon to institutional investors. According to experts, the premium paid for Panera Bread was recognition of its previous investments to enhance performances and grow margins.

“Panera Bread Co. gained from an official take-out deal, as well as benefited from owning above market sales development due to its digital experience roll-out,” Waddell & & Reed Advisors Funds reported this past September.

Panera has been a leader in digital sales, carrying out about 1.3 million digital transactions weekly, representing about 28% of its sales, Shaich stated.

“Our omni-channel approach leads the industry, with shipment now available in more than 50% of the system and catering sales growing well over double-digits yearly,” he stated.

Blaine Hurst, Panera’s president and the designer of the digital technique is taking over as CEO.

“The past 7 years have actually given me the chance to learn from an industry icon,” Hurst stated. “With amazing brand-new initiatives underway to much better serve our customers and improve their dining experience, I think our chance is even brighter.”

As of September, Panera ran 2,050 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada.

In the acquisition of Au Bon Discomfort, Panera is being recommended by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & & Flom LLP. Au Bon Discomfort is being recommended by North Point Advisors LLC and Kirkland & & Ellis LLP.

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