Ron Shaich helps bring two chains back together and steps down as CEO.
Panera Bread will soon be acquiring rival chain Au Bon Pain. According to a recent QSR Magazine article, the deal on the Boston-based bakery-café chain with 304 units worldwide is expected to close during the fourth quarter.
The two brands have a history. Panera’s founder, chairman and CEO, Ron Shaich, created Au Bon Pain Co. Inc in 1981. Shortly after Au Bon Pain had gone public, it acquired St. Louis Bread Company in 1993, which was then renamed to Panera, which went on to grow to 2,000 locations.
“With the acquisition we are announcing today, we are bringing Au Bon Pain and Panera together again,” said Shaich. “This acquisition offers the strategic opportunity for us to grow in several new real estate channels, including hospitals, universities, transportation centers and urban locations, among others.”
Shaich has also announced that he will be stepping down as CEO, effective January 1. He will remain a significant investor in the company and chairman of Panera’s board of directors.
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