JAB Holding Co., the Washington, D.C., parent company of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Caribou Coffee and more, acquired Panera Bread Co., St. Louis, Mo., for $7.5 billion.

“By any measure, Panera has been one of the most successful restaurant companies in history,” says Ron Shaich, founder, chairman and CEO of Panera. “What started as one 400-square-foot cookie store in Boston has grown to a system with over 2,000 units, approximately $5 billion in sales and over 100,000 associates. In more than 25 years as a publicly traded company, Panera has created significant shareholder value. Indeed, Panera has been the best-performing restaurant stock of the past 20 years–up over 8,000%. Today’s transaction is a direct reflection of those efforts, and delivers substantial additional value for our shareholders.”

“Over the last five years, we have developed and executed a powerful strategic plan to be a better competitive alternative with emerging runways for growth,” Shaich adds. “The themes we have bet on—digital, wellness, loyalty, omni-channel, new formats for growth—are shaping the restaurant industry today. Indeed, the power of the plan is evident in our business results. Today, we are pre-releasing Q1 2017 company-owned bakery-café comps of 5.3%, which is 690 bps better than the black box all-industry composite. Our success for shareholders is the byproduct of our commitment to long-term decision making and operating in the interest of all stakeholders, including guests, associates and franchisees. We believe this transaction with JAB offers the best way to continue to operate with this approach. We are pleased to join with JAB, a private investor with an equally long-term perspective, as well as a deep commitment to our strategic plan.”

“We have long admired Ron and the incredible success story he has created at Panera,” adds Olivier Goudet, JAB partner and CEO. “I have great respect for the strong business that he, together with his management team, its franchisees and its associates, has built. We strongly support Panera’s vision for the future, strategic initiatives, culture of innovation and balanced company vs franchise store mix. We are excited to invest in and work together with the company’s management team and franchisees to continue to lead the industry.”

Following the close of the transaction, Panera will be privately held and continue to be operated independently by the company’s management team. JAB is acquiring Panera through JAB BV, an investment vehicle of JAB Consumer Fund and JAB Holding Co.