JAB Holdings keeps taking bigger bites of the prepared-food universe, now agreeing to buy UK-based Pret A Manger, the London-headquartered global chain of sandwich shops that prides itself on freshly-prepared food, organic coffee, punning in-store food photography and a purpose-driven mission that includes donating to food banks and committing to sustainability.
A Tradition of Giving Back
“This is a day of celebration at Pret,” stated Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret A Manger, who celebrated by “thanking the people who really matter by giving each of our employees £1,000 to celebrate.”
The blogging CEO added: “This agreement recognises the hard work of all our amazing teams around the world. Bridgepoint has been wonderful owners of the business for more than a decade. All of us at Pret believe JAB will be excellent long-term strategic owners. JAB believes in Pret’s values and supports our growth plans. I am really looking forward to this next chapter of Pret’s story.”
Expanding JAB’s Holdings
Already owner of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Panera Bread and Keurig Green Mountain, JAB’s press release announcing its plan to buy Pret A Manger did not disclose the terms of the deal. According to the FT and the Wall Street Journal, it’s valued at roughly $2 billion. JAB also is in the process of buying Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Panera Bread as it looks to the global soft-drinks business as well as coffee and QSR.
“We’re very excited to partner with Pret and its talented team to continue their extraordinary growth story,” said JAB CEO Olivier Goudet.
“Management’s proven track record and commitment to customer service, investment in innovation and approach to freshly prepared food position Pret well as it capitalises on evolving consumer taste and lifestyle preferences. We look forward to working with Clive Schlee and his management team, while promoting the Pret brand and supporting Pret’s impressive culture for the next phase in the company’s growth with JAB.”
JAB is buying Pret from the Bridgepoint equity firm and its majority owner and minor shareholders. The U.K.-headquartered Pret not only is rapidly growing its U.S. presence—where it currently operates 92 stores—but it also has outlets in Hong Kong, China and France for a total of 530 stores worldwide.
The brand tries to differentiate itself as healthier, including a menu that includes colorful salads, “protein pots” and beetroot hummus; outfitting each store with its own on-site kitchen to boost freshness and local sourcing; and sustainability experiments such as its vegetarian stores in the U.K.
— Clive Schlee (@Cliveschlee) May 3, 2018
McDonald’s bought a 33% stake in Pret in 2001, but Pret’s ensuing rapid international expansion overextended the company financially. Amid Pret’s retrenchment, McDonald’s sold its stake to Bridgepoint in 2008.
Pret logged 10 straight years of sales and earnings growth and nine straight years of like-for-like sales growth under Bridgepoint. “The brand continues to thrive around the world,” Schlee said, “thanks to our simple recipe of freshly prepared food, served by genuinely engaged teams.”
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