Panera Bread is going public again through an IPO

Panera Brands, the owner of Panera Bread and Einstein Bros. Bagels, will go public again in a listing backed by Shake Shack Inc. founder Danny Meyer’s USHG Acquisition Corp. 

USHG Acquisition will become an investor in Panera Bread when the casual-dining chain files for a traditional initial public offering, the two companies said Tuesday. That means Panera Bread won’t merge with USHG directly to become a public company, as has typically been the case with special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. 

Meyer, whose restaurants include Blue Smoke and Union Square Cafe, will also become the lead independent director of Panera Brands’ board. 

“We’ve long admired Danny’s work as he built some of today’s most beloved brands with a relentless focus on hospitality and culture,” Panera Brands Chief Executive Officer Niren Chaudhary said in the statement.

A gradual return to normalcy and social activities as the coronavirus pandemic wanes has resulted in a busy year of restaurant IPOs. 

Dutch Bros. Inc., the coffee chain listed in September, has almost tripled its valued since its debut, and shares of Chicago hot-dog chain Portillo’s Inc. more than doubled after its IPO last month. Excluding trusts and SPACs, listings across all sectors this year are up 15% on a weighted average basis. 

JAB, the investment firm that owns stakes in Pret A Manger Ltd., JDE Peet’s NV and Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., acquired Panera Bread for $7.5 billion in 2017. Earlier this year, JAB combined that business with Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels to form Panera Brands, a company with nearly 4,000 venues and 110,000 employees in 10 countries. 

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is adviser to Panera Brands. 

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