Panera Bread Co. to Become Siblings with Krispy Kreme, Others in Merger

A major merger in the food world could give Starbucks a run for its money. Last week, the shareholders of Panera Bread Co. approved the sale of the company to Krispy Kreme owner JAB Holding Co. for a whopping $7.5 billion, with the deal expected to close this month. The deal, first announced in April, included JAB taking on all $340 million of Panera's debt.

This merger could mean big things in the chain cafe and coffee world, as JAB already owns a few household names aside from doughnut dominator Krispy Kreme, among them Caribou, Peet's Coffee and Tea, Keurig Green Mountain and Einstein Bros. Bagels.

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After a few stumbles, Panera seems to be back on track. For the first quarter of 2017, which ended March 28, Panera reported its net income rose 21.1 percent, to $42.5 million, or $1.88 per share, from $35 million, or $1.45 per share, the previous year. Revenue rose $727.6 million, from $685.2 million the previous year.

However, this merger still leaves them a ways away from taking Starbucks' strongly seated throne; Panera operates just more than 2,000 stores in the U.S., doing about $150 million in retail and grocery sales, compared to Starbucks' more than 12,000 and counting stores.

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