Panera buying Au Bon Pain as CEO Shaich steps down

Panera Bread and Au Bon Pain are reuniting.

Sunset Hills-based Panera, which has 2,050 restaurants, said Wednesday it’s acquiring Boston-based Au Bon Pain, a sandwich, pastry and coffee chain with 304 restaurants, for an undisclosed amount.

Panera made the announcement as it also unveiled changes in its top leadership: Panera President Blaine Hurst will succeed Ron Shaich as CEO on Jan. 1. While Panera is headquartered in the St. Louis area, both Shaich, who will remain chairman of the company, and Hurst reside in Massachusetts.

Panera’s acquisition of Au Bon Pain, which is slated to close in the fourth quarter, is part of its initiative to expand to hospitals, universities and other urban locations. Au Bon Pain has a location at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis.

The acquisition brings the two chains under the same ownership for the second time.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Bloomberg

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