Au Bon Pain has some excellent legacy locations inside airports, train stations, and urban hubs, but it's struggled to remain relevant or a place that people actually decide to go to rather than simple settle on.
— Jason Clampet
JAB Holding Co., the investment firm backed by the billionaire Reimann family, is expanding its U.S. food empire.
The firm’s Panera Bread business has agreed to acquire the Au Bon Pain bakery chain, adding about 200 cafes to a sprawling portfolio that includes coffee, doughnuts and bagels. Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.
The deal comes a few months after JAB acquired Panera in a $7.2 billion takeover, thrusting it into the fast-casual restaurant market. That acquisition brought more than 2,000 cafes that are popular with the lunch crowd. Au Bon Pain will bring restaurants that also emphasize bread and pastries, with locations in places like hospitals, colleges and train stations.
The takeover extends a frenzied buying spree for JAB. The firm has scooped up Keurig Green Mountain, Krispy Kreme, Caribou Coffee, the Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Analysts have speculated that JAB could eventually go after Dunkin’ Donuts, giving it a hard-to-match assortment of coffee and breakfast brands.
The latest deal also unites Panera Chief Executive Officer Ron Shaich with his old business. He and the late Louis Kane started Au Bon Pain in 1981.
JAB began building its caffeine-focused empire with the 2012 purchase of a stake in Amsterdam-based D.E Master Blenders 1753 NV, the maker of Senseo and Douwe Egberts brands. In the U.S., JAB has developed a portfolio of co-branded restaurants called Coffee & Bagels, which offer Caribou java and Einstein Bros. bagels.
Au Bon Pain, meanwhile, has struggled to maintain growth recently. In 2016, the Boston-based chain’s sales slipped 3.2 percent to about $352 million, according to Technomic, a restaurant research firm.
Four Reimann siblings — Renate Reimann-Haas, Matthias Reimann-Andersen, Stefan Reimann-Andersen and Wolfgang Reimann — have a combined net worth of $11.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
JAB also controls cosmetics maker Coty Inc., which announced an agreement this week to license Burberry Group Plc’s beauty brands.
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.