Lovers of soup and bread rejoice: Panera Bread will soon be the proud owner of Au Bon Pain.
On top of its 2,050 US locations, Panera will add roughly 200 US Au Bon Pains and around 100 more abroad. Thus far, no plans have been announced to rebrand those locations, but according to a press release, Panera is attempting to grow Au Bon Pan in “new real estate channels, including hospitals, universities, transportation centers and urban locations, among others.”
This melding of cafe minds is thanks to Luxembourg-based JAB Holding Co., which owns Panera Bread, Krispy Kreme, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and Caribou Coffee. JAB is thought to be making a play at coffee domination to more fiercely compete with Starbucks. You might have heard recent speculation that the company would purchase Dunkin' Donuts, but this development makes that less likely, according to a report by Bloomberg. Details of this deal have yet to be disclosed, but JAB paid $7.2 billion for Panera several months ago.