Panera reuniting with Au Bon Pain in new acquisition

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ST. LOUIS, MO — Panera Bread is buying Boston-based bakery-cafe chain Au Bon Pain. The St. Louis based company will expand by 304 storefronts worldwide. They say it is part of an effort to grow into new places like hospitals, universities, transportation centers and urban locations.

The deal will bring the two companies back together again. Ron Shaich, Panera’s founder, Chairman and CEO, and his late partner Louis Kane created Au Bon Pain in 1981. The company went public in 1991 and acquired Saint Louis Bread Company in 1993. Saint Louis Bread was renamed Panera and, in 1999, Au Bon Pain was sold so that all human and capital resources available at that time could be focused on Panera.

Ron Shaich is stepping down as Panera’s CEO in 2018. The company says it will let him spend more time working with Panera and parent company, JAB. He will remain chairman of Panera’s Board of Directors and will continue to work on strategy, communications and acquisitions for Panera.

Blaine Hurst will assume the position of CEO. He is currently Panera’s president and has led the company’s with several innovations over the last five years.

In September 2017 there were 2,050 Panera bakery-cafes in the US and Canada. The company is based in Sunset Hills, a suburb of St. Louis.