Panera Brands reportedly files confidentially for IPO

The long-promised move appears to be coming to fruition after years of preparation, indicating markets are looking more favorable.
Panera Brands
Panera Bread is the largest of the three concepts under the Panera Brands group looking to go public. | Photo: Shutterstock.

After promising an initial public offering for years, it looks like Panera Brands Inc. is getting close to going public.

Financial Times on Thursday reported that the group owned by investment company JAB has filed confidential paperwork for an IPO, citing anonymous sources. Panera Brands is the parent to the Panera Bread brand, as well as Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee.

On Friday, Panera officials declined to comment on the report.

If true, however, the move would be the culmination of years of preparation and waiting for the right market conditions, after an earlier attempt failed to gain traction.

Panera Bread was a public company before it was acquired by Europe-based JAB Holding Co. in 2017 in a $7.5 billion deal. JAB brought Panera, Einstein Bros. and Caribou together under one umbrella, a move that at the time was seen as preparation for a spinoff.

In 2021, the first attempt at IPO was announced with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, led by New York restaurateur Danny Meyer. But the markets took a downturn and that deal was called off a year later.

Panera Brands, meanwhile, continued to maintain its goal of returning to the public markets once conditions improved.

Earlier this year, the company restructured its leadership team, first naming Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary to the role of chairman of Panera Brands and moving former president and CEO of Einstein, José Alberto Dueñas, into the CEO seat for the group. At the time, the company openly said the restructuring was designed to prepare for going public.

In September, the company said former Krispy Kreme CEO Mike Tattersfield will join Panera Brand’s board of directors and will become chairman in January—another move seen as preparation for the planned IPO.

Tattersfield worked with all three Panera brands previously and headed both Caribou and Einstein as each brand of those two brands were acquired by JAB. He also helped take Krispy Kreme public—which was another JAB brand—in 2021.

And Panera Brands brought in a new CFO: the former Dunkin’ Brands CFO Paul Carbone. In 2011, Carbone was part of the finance team when Dunkin’ went public.

Last month, the Panera Bread brand—the group’s largest—cut about 17% of its corporate staff, which was also described as a streamlining move as the company prepared to go public.

Panera Brands includes about 3,800 locations under the three brands, which in 2022 generated about $4.8 billion in revenue.

Other restaurant companies have jumped into the seemingly chilly IPO waters and found the temperature just fine.

Cava Group Inc., for example, went public in June with a strong opening-day performance, followed by stellar earnings so far this year. The 32-unit GEN Korean BBQ also went public in a smaller offering. And the eatertainment concept Pinstripes also announced plans to go public via a merger with the SPAC Banyan Acquisition Corp.

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