Why Traders Are Piling Into Panera Bread Co (PNRA)

Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) shares have spiked by 13% in pre-market trading after JAB agreed to acquire the company for $315 per share in cash, good for a total transaction value of around $7.5 billion, including the assumption of $340 million of net debt. The sale has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) and represents a substantial premium to the company’s unaffected price.

CEO Ron Shaich said,’By any measure, Panera has been one of the most successful restaurant companies in history. 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 twenty years – up over 8,000%. Today’s transaction is a direct reflection of those efforts, and delivers substantial additional value for our shareholders’.

By buying Panera, JAB would be adding to its already admirable holding of consumer staple companies, including retaining controlling stakes in Keurig Green Mountain and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

What Does The Smart Money Sentiment Say?

At Insider Monkey, we’ve developed an investment strategy that has delivered market-beating returns over the past 12 months. Our strategy identifies the 100 best-performing funds of the previous quarter from among the collection of 700+ successful funds that we track in our database, which we accomplish using our returns methodology. We then study the portfolios of those 100 funds using the latest 13F data to uncover the 30 most popular mid-cap stocks (market caps of between $1 billion and $10 billion) among them to hold until the next filing period. This strategy delivered 39.7% gains over the past 12 months and outperformed the 24.1% gain enjoyed by the S&P 500 ETFs. Our enhanced small-cap hedge fund strategy returned more than 45% over the last 12 months and outperformed SPY by more than 30 percentage points over the last 4.5 years (see details here).

Our data shows that some elite funds might have missed out on today’s massive rally. Of the 742 elite funds we track, 23 funds owned $274.22 million of Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) and accounted for 5.80% of the float on December 31, versus 33 funds and $369.61 million respectively on September 30.

The Bottom Line

Traders are buying Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) due to the news that JAB will buy the company. Shares of Panera have already done very well year-to-date, and today’s event adds to the final return. For more reading, check out ‘11 Best Bread, Pie, Pastry and Cupcake Baking Classes in NYC‘.