Parent company Caribou is considering IPO

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Caribou Coffee has been a publicly traded company for almost a decade, but that will change soon.

Panera Brands, a business unit that includes Caribou and Einstein Bagels, announced Tuesday morning its intention to submit documents to make them public. The news comes two months after Caribou folded to the Panera Brands division. At the time, the media speculated that the movement could lead to an initial public offering, or IPO, for Panera Brands.

A Tuesday press release noted that Panera Brands intends to continue with a “traditional IPO”, although the nature of the deal is a bit atypical. New York restaurateur Danny Meyer, who started the Shake Shack chain, will invest in Panera Brands when it goes public, the statement said. USHG Acquisition Corp., Meyer’s Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), will also invest in Panera Brands.

The statement said that Meyer’s SPAC will become a “core partner” of Panera Brands. Also known as “blank check companies”, SPACs are essentially shell companies with no assets or products. Typically, a PSPC is released to the public soon after it is formed; then, PSPC will acquire another private company. It’s essentially a shortcut to becoming a publicly traded company, which is often a painstaking process that involves months of back and forth with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Interest in PSPCs exploded in 2021.

Notably, Panera Brands is technically not made public through Meyer’s SPAC, which began trading in February. USHG Acquisition does not acquire Panera, but it appears to offer a significant investment in the business. In addition, as part of the agreement, Meyer will also become a lead independent director of the board of directors of Panera Brands.

Meanwhile, the current owner of Panera, JAB Holding Co., is not quite going yet. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Luxembourg company JAB plans to remain a “long-term shareholder” after the closing of the IPO.

JAB bought Panera in 2017 and Caribou in 2014. Both companies were listed on the stock exchange prior to the acquisition. Caribou have been listed on the Nasdaq since 2005.


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