>> Panera Bread agreeing Wednesday to be acquired by European investment firm JAB Holdings. Putting the health-conscious sandwich shop under the same umbrella as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Keurig Green Mountain, and Peet's Coffee. The price tag topping $7 billion, making it the biggest US restaurant deal on record.>> I'm Conway Guinness in New York.
It's more than just Panera's freshly baked in-store breads that JAB is after. Panera is considered the top chef when it comes to technology use in restaurants. Its mobile ordering and delivery service is driving sales. It's in-store kiosk, shortening wait times and all of that is leading to repeat customers.
Its loyalty membership program boasting 25 million members strong. But all the innovation comes at a price. And Panera's CEO wants to keep on making progress without having to answer to so many shareholders. Panera will now be part of a privately held company with deep pockets. Its buyer, JAB, is the investment vehicle of Germany's billionaire Reimann family which owns other big investments in luxury goods maker Jimmy Choo and cosmetics company Coty.
But the Reimanns certainly have a love for food and drink. Their investment arm is the world's biggest coffeemaker after merging its European operations with Mondelez' coffee business in 2015. Shares of Panera rallying to a record high on the deal.