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Panera Bread to Acquire Au Bon Pain Holding Company - Washington Report

Panera Bread  announcing Wednesday it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Au Bon Pain Holding Co., Inc. Terms of the deal, expected to close during the fourth quarter, were not disclosed.

Au Bon Pain, a Boston-based bakery-café chain, has 304 units worldwide. Panera said in a press release the purchase will be part of its initiative to intensify growth in new real estate channels, including hospitals, universities, transportation centers, and urban locations.

Ron Shaich, Panera’s founder, chairman, and CEO, created Au Bon Pain Co. Inc with his late partner Louis Kane in 1981. The company went public in 1991 and acquired Saint Louis Bread Company in 1993. St. Louis Bread was renamed Panera. Au Bon Pain was sold six years later so all resources could be diverted to Panera, a budding fast casual that would eventually expand past 2,000 locations.

“With the acquisition we are announcing today, we are bringing Au Bon Pain and Panera together again,” Shaich said in a statement. “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.”