Will Panera Bread be more successful as a private company?
In a deal that seems to have materialized almost overnight, Panera Bread Company announced yesterday that it had reached a definitive agreement to sell its business to JAB Holdings in a deal valued at $7.5 billion. Speaking on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” program, Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich said the deal would benefit the company’s shareholders and that going private would give the chain a competitive edge moving forward.
Mr. Shaich said Wall Street’s emphasis on short-term results made it more difficult to run the business properly.
“When I started 25 years ago, I will tell you that a third of our investors were looking at this for a year longer,” he said. “Today, I will tell you two-thirds of our investors are thinking literally quarter to quarter.”
Mr. Shaich said JAB, which owns Caribou Coffee, Einstein Brothers Bagels, Keurig Green Mountain, Krispy Kreme, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Stumptown Coffee Roasters, is the right “partner” for his company.
“They’re long term investors,” said Mr. Shaich. “They measure their investments in centuries, not decades. They are committed to our strategy. They’re committed to our company franchise model. They’re committed to our team.”
Jack Russo, an analyst at Edward Jones, supported Mr. Shaich’s assessment of JAB.
“I think they’re just going to let Panera run themselves for a while and get to know the business,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “That’s kind of been their style.”
Panera Bread comes off a first quarter in which comp sales increased 5.3 percent at company-owned locations and the chain claimed market share gains.
Mr. Shaich will continue to lead the company under JAB, and Panera Bread will continue to be headquartered in St. Louis.
- Panera Bread and JAB Announce Definitive Merger Agreement – Panera Bread Company
- After a $7.5 billion deal, Panera’s CEO says he can do even more as a private business – CNBC
- Another St. Louis company sold: Panera Bread goes for $7.5 billion – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Panera Bread be more successful as privately held than it was as a publicly traded company? Why or why not? Which competitors to Panera Bread do you think should be most concerned about this deal?