Shares of Panera Bread Co. spiked nearly 12 percent Monday to a record high after Bloomberg reported that the fast-casual restaurant chain was exploring strategic options, including a possible sale.
The stock hit a record $292.42 a share in late morning and closed at $282.63, up 8 percent for the day.
Panera, based in Sunset Hills, has been a bright spot in a restaurant industry struggling with rising labor costs and slow traffic growth. The company has been an industry leader in using consumer-oriented technologies like online ordering and in-store ordering kiosks to reduce costs.
The bakery chain, which has a market value of about $6.5 billion, is said to be working with advisers to study the options, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named discussing the private process. Potential suitors could include JAB Holding Co., Starbucks Corp. and Domino’s Pizza Inc., one of the people said.
There’s no certainty a deal of any sort will be reached for St. Louis-based Panera, the people added.
A Panera spokesman said the company does not comment on rumors.