Panera Bread Company (NASDAQ:PNRA) announced today that it has purchased 32 franchise-operated bakery-cafes and the area development rights for certain markets in Illinois and Minnesota for approximately $36.0 million in cash in the aggregate and the assumption of certain liabilities. Approximately $34.2 million of the acquisition price was paid with cash on hand at the time of closing with the remaining approximately $1.8 million to be paid with interest in twelve months. The Company currently expects the transaction to be neutral to modestly accretive to earnings for fiscal 2007.

Panera Bread Company owns and franchises bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread(R) and Saint Louis Bread Co.(R) names. With its identity rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread, Panera Bread is committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust. Highlighted by antibiotic free chicken, whole grain bread, select organic and all-natural ingredients and a menu free of man-made trans fat, Panera’s bakery-cafe selection offers flavorful, wholesome offerings. The menu includes a wide variety of year-round favorites, complemented by new items introduced seasonally with the goal of creating new standards in everyday food choices. In neighborhoods across the country, guests are enjoying Panera’s warm and welcoming environment featuring comfortable gathering areas, relaxing decor, and free internet access provided through a managed WiFi network. At the close of each day, Panera Bread bakery-cafes donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need. Additional information is available on the Company’s website, Panera also holds a 51% interest in Paradise Bakery & Cafe, Inc., owner and franchisor of 46 bakery-cafes.

News, Sandwiches, Panera Bread