REPORT: Panera is looking to sell itself and its stock is soaring (PNRA)

The cafe and bakery chain Panera Bread Co. has received takeover interest and is considering selling itself, Bloomberg's Ed Hammond reports.

The stock jumped more than 7% on the news.

Panera's market cap was about $6 billion before the news broke.

The news follows a recent uptick in retail merger and acquisition activity.

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Burger King-owner Restaurant Brands International in February announced it was buying Popeyes for $1.8 billion, while Kraft-Heinz recently made and then withdrew a bid for Unilever.

Panera has recently doubled down on its commitment to "clean" foods, made without artificial ingredients or additives.

In January, the chain achieved its goal of cutting all 96 additives and ingredients the company identified on its "No No List" two years ago. Last week, Panera announced it would begin listing the amount of added sugars in its fountain drinks, making it the first national chain to do so.

Panera has also made significant investments in technology in recent years. In 2016, the company completed the roll out of Panera 2.0, a tech initiative that built the chain's digital ordering system for Panera's app and in-store kiosks.

According to CNBC's Jim Cramer, Starbucks is the party that is interested in acquiring Panera. The coffee chain is currently working to boost food sales, launching a new lunch test at 100 locations in Chicago in mid-April. In July 2016, Starbucks announced it had made an investment in the Italian bakery Princi, and that Princi items would be served in certain upscale Starbucks locations.

More to come...

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See Also:

SEE ALSO: Unilever is reportedly looking at selling some of its food brands for $7.44 billion

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