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A minority investor who could win if Panera goes public again

The New York Times reported that JAB completed refinancing for Panera, potentially paving the way for it to bring the company back to the public markets
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — Though JAB took Panera Bread Co. private in 2017, it isn't the only owner of the company, which may again go public.

Chicago private equity firm BDT Capital Partners is still a minority investor in Panera, according to Pitchbook, a database of private equity deals and industry players. Union, Missouri, native Byron Trott is its founder.

BDT invested in Luxembourg-based JAB's buyout of Panera, a $7.5 billion deal that went through in 2017.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that JAB this month completed an $800 million refinancing for Panera, potentially paving the way for it to bring the company back to the public markets. That could come through a traditional initial public offering or purchase by a special purpose acquisition company, which is created with the intent of raising capital through an initial public offering, then using the proceeds to acquire a private company and take it public.

Panera and BDT haven't responded to requests for comment.

The Wall Street Journal in 2011 described Trott as "perhaps the world’s most famous investment banker, lauded and envied for his knack at winning the trust of America’s wealthiest families."

Trott grew up in a small home in Union with his three older sisters and their parents, according to the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, which gave Trott an award in 2011.

Trott jumped into business at age 17. His mother reportedly took out a loan to help him open a men’s clothing store next to her women’s clothing shop. Trott’s father worked for Southwestern Bell, repairing telephone lines.

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