(Adds industry context)
By Lauren Hirsch
April 4 JAB Holdings, the owner of Caribou
Coffee and Peet's Coffee & Tea, is in advanced talks to acquire
bakery chain Panera Bread Co as it expands its coffee
and breakfast empire, a source familiar with the situation said
JAB, which also owns coffee k-cup maker Keurig Green
Mountain, could help Panera expand its breakfast business as it
competes for the only growing meal in the fast-food industry.
The source requested anonymity because the talks are
confidential. Luxembourg-based JAB, the investment vehicle of
Germany's billionaire Reimann family, declined to comment.
Panera also declined to comment.
St. Louis-based Panera, whose fresh offerings appeal to
health-conscious consumers, has reported better-than-expected
earnings per share for the last six quarters. Its stock has
risen nearly 28 percent this year through last Friday, ahead of
media reports on the talks.
Panera, which has 2,000 bakery cafes throughout the United
States, has worked to remove artificial colors and preservatives
from its menu. It has also faced increased competition for
breakfast customers, as more restaurant chains cater to diners
willing to pay for a cheap, fast breakfast but not a lunch or
In addition to breakfast stalwarts Starbucks Corp
and Dunkin Brands Group Inc, fast-food restaurant have
jumped onto the breakfast bandwagon. McDonald's Corp in
2015 added an all-day breakfast menu, and Yum! Brands Inc's
Taco Bell last year added a $1 breakfast menu.
JAB has been building its breakfast and coffee empire for
years. It became the largest pure-play by volume in 2015, when
its created Jacobs Douwe Egberts in Europe, a joint venture that
combined its D.E. Master Blenders 1753 business with the coffee
business of U.S.-based Mondelez International Inc.
Since then, it has acquired other breakfast and coffee
companies, including Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for roughly $1.35
billion and Green Mountain for $13.9 billion.
JAB also controls cosmetics company Coty Inc and
luxury goods maker Jimmy Choo.
Restaurant acquisitions have picked up speed in recent
months, as the industry faces the challenge of a rising minimum
wage. Restaurant Brands International, which owns
Burger King and Tim Hortons, in February announced a deal to buy
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.
Darden Restaurants Inc, whose portfolio includes the
Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse chains, said in March it
would buy casual dining chain Cheddars Scratch Kitchen.
Bloomberg first reported Panera was in advanced sale talks
(Reporting by Lauren Hirsch; Editing by Richard Chang and