Panera Bread IPO submitting

A Panera Bread mango yuzu citrus charged lemonade is displayed at a Panera Bread restaurant in Novato, California, on Nov. 1, 2023.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Panera Bread has confidentially filed to go public again, people familiar with the matter told CNBC.

The restaurant chain, known for its soups, sandwiches and bagels, has been signaling for months that it’s looking to go public through an initial public offering. In May, Panera announced a CEO transition and said the leadership changes were “in preparation for its eventual IPO” — amid a two-year IPO drought that ended in the fall.

Mediterranean restaurant chain Cava, whose chair is Panera founder Ron Shaich, was among the trickle of companies that went public this year. Investors had mixed reactions to the slate of offerings.

Panera isn’t alone in hoping market conditions improve in 2024. Chinese-founded fast-fashion giant Shein confidentially filed to go public Monday, and Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Reddit and Skims could also be in next year’s IPO class.

Panera declined to comment to CNBC. The news was first reported by the Financial Times.

The company was last publicly traded in 2017. JAB Holding, the investment arm of the Reimann family, bought the company for $7.5 billion. It added Panera to a portfolio that, at that time, included Keurig and Krispy Kreme.

In recent years, however, JAB has been reworking its portfolio. In 2021, it sold Au Bon Pain to a Yum Brands franchisee and took Krispy Kreme public.

JAB also tried to take Panera public again that year. But in 2022, Panera called off its deal with Danny Meyer’s special purpose acquisition company. The unusual arrangement would have exchanged shares of USHG Acquisition for the sandwich chain’s stock and allowed the company to survive a merger with Panera’s subsidiary Rye Merger.

However, Panera scrapped those plans, citing market conditions.

But the chain’s current attempt to go public comes as the restaurant has drawn scrutiny for other reasons. The company was recently sued for its “charged lemonade.” The plaintiffs allege the drink caused the death of their college-age daughter, who had a heart condition.

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