Panera Bread to go public again in IPO backed by Shake Shack founder’s SPAC

FILE PHOTO: A hiring sign is seen in front of a Panera Bread outlet, as many restaurant businesses face staffing shortages in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., June 7, 2021. REUTERS/Amira Karaoud

November 9, 2021

(Reuters) – Panera Bread plans to return to public markets through a U.S. initial public offering backed by Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer’s blank-check company, the latest in a flurry of restaurant listings this year as dining out returns.

Meyer himself will directly invest in the Panera Bread owner at the time of the IPO, Panera Brands said on Tuesday, and become the lead independent director of the company’s board.

Typically, special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC) are shell firms raised with the intent of later merging with a private entity to take it public. In the case of Panera, Meyer’s USHG Acquisition Corp will invest following the IPO.

After the listing, a unit of Panera Brands will merge with USHG Acquisition for $287.5 million and the proceeds will be invested in the restaurant chain owner.

The IPO plan comes four years after European investment firm JAB Holdings took Panera private in a deal valued at about $7.5 billion, with the sandwich chain’s return coming at a time when people are heading to restaurants again after months of ordering in during lockdowns.

Coffeehouse Dutch Bros Inc, donut chain Krispy Kreme and hot dog maker Portillo’s Inc also went public this year.

Shares of USHG Acquisition were up nearly 8%.

J.P. Morgan is acting as financial adviser to Panera Brands, while USHG Acquisition will be advised by Piper Sandler & Co.

(Reporting by Deborah Sophia in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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