Industry News | April 3, 2017 | By Danny Klein | QSR Exclusive Brief

Rumors Swirl of Possible Panera Bread Sale

Panera Bread
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Shares of Panera Bread skyrocketed Monday as reports surfaced of a possible sale, a move that would shakeup the fast casual industry to the tune of  $7 billion, according to one analyst.

Bloomberg reported that Panera was exploring strategic options, including a possible sale, after receiving takeover interest. An anonymous source told Bloomberg that potential suitors could include JAB Holding Co., Starbucks Corp., and Domino’s Pizza, adding that there was no certainty any deal would be struck. A Domino’s spokesperson later told Benzinga it wasn’t interested and was not “having any conversations regarding the purchase of Panera.”

Panera has a market value of around $6.5 billion. Maxim Group analyst Stephen Anderson told TheStreet that a buyer would fork up around $7 billion, or $300 a share for the fast casual pioneer. Anderson also tacked on McDonald’s and Yum! Brands as companies potentially in the pool of suitors.

As of 2:58 p.m., shares of Panera were up 7.9 percent to $282.45. Panera’s stock has climbed 28 percent in the 12 months through last week.

Shares jumped 7 percent Monday before trading halted due to the report and volatility of the stock. It resumed and continued to gain, setting the brand up for its best day since April 16, 2015, when it rose 11.6 percent.

The more than 2,000-unit chain, which on Friday announced its clean-soda initiative, would be the latest in a string of major quick-service purchases. None bigger, of course, than Restaurant Brands International’s $1.8 billion acquisition of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Checkers Drive-In restaurants Inc. was also purchased by Oak Hill Capital Partners for $525 million recently.

Jimmy’s Johns, Wetzel’s, and Cicis were all sold in one week in September.