Krispy Kreme buys Panera for $7.5 billion

Updated: Apr. 5, 2017 at 7:43 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The owner of a chain known for deep fried, sugar coated doughnuts is buying another major player in the fast food industry – and one that has built its reputation around healthy eating.

JAB, the investment firm that controls the Krispy Kreme chain and coffee brands Keurig, Peet's and Caribou, announced the $7.5 billion deal Wednesday to acquire Panera and turn it into a private company.

There is some synergy between the companies. While known for its soup and sandwiches, Panera is a major seller of coffee, a growing segment of JAB.

Panera's ascension as one of the most successful fast-casual chains shook up the restaurant industry, introducing higher quality ingredients than fast-food competitors, making wi-fi widely available and giving customers healthy options. The company has also stayed ahead of the technological curve by introducing digital ordering earlier than many competitors.

JAB gave few details about its plans for Panera, which has more than 2,000 locations and about $5 billion in annual sales.

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