Panera is being acquired by Europe’s JAB Holding Co. for more than $7 billion.
JAB is better known for the growing stable of brands it owns or has a big stake in, including Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co., Stumptown Coffee and Keurig Green Mountain and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.
For days there have been rumors of a deal for Panera, with one of the companies reportedly interested being Starbucks Corp.
On Wednesday, the St. Louis sandwich and soup chain revealed that it was actually JAB, an investment fund based in Luxemburg that has quietly become a Starbucks rival.
JAB will pay $315 per Panera Bread Co. share. That’s a 14.5 percent premium to the company’s Tuesday closing price of $274.
The transaction, which includes approximately $340 million of debt, is expected to close in the third quarter. It still needs the approval of Panera shareholders.
Once the deal is complete, Panera will become privately held company.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.