Surprise! Warren Buffett-Backed 3G Capital May Make A Rival Bid For Panera Bread Co

Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ:PNRA) agreed last week to a blockbuster takeover by European coffee and food giant JAB Holdings, but [rumour has it that] 3G Capital, a Brazil-based private equity firm that’s backed by Warren Buffett, may be prepping a bid as well.

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The New York Post has some more details on the story, which is rapidly developing:

Brazilian private equity giant 3G Capital is seriously weighing a rival bid for the 2,036-store chain, sources close to the situation said.

3G, which counts Warren Buffett as a backer — and owns Burger King and Tim Hortons and recently agreed to buy Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen — has hired investment bank Lazard to study the possibility of a bid, sources said.

JAB’s accepted offer for PNRA was $7.5 billion, so a rival bid would need to be perhaps in the $8.5 billion range.

3G and JAB have never squared off as rivals before. The two companies have some common bonds, in fact, with Olivier Goudet, JAB’s CEO, acting as chairman of the board for 3G-owned Anheuser-Busch InBev.

The perhaps unlikely bid could kick off a new era for the two firms, which may soon become competitors — and that would be good news for Panera investors, as the price of the food chain escalates.

...Year-to-date, PNRA has gained 54.16%, versus a 5.62% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

PNRA currently has a POWR Rating of A (Strong Buy), and is ranked #6 of 53 stocks in the Restaurants category.

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