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Another St. Louis company sold: Panera Bread goes for $7.5 billion

FILE PHOTO: Assistant Manager Ken Hopkin and employee Stacy Patton fill orders during the lunch rush on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at the St. Louis Bread Company in Des Peres. Photo by Laurie Skrivan,

Panera Bread Co.'s stockholders approved the restaurant chain's sale to JAB Holdings, paving the way for the $7.5 billion deal to finalize this month.

Sunset Hills-based Panera, which operates locally as St. Louis Bread Co., said Tuesday that stockholders overwhelmingly approved the merger that was announced in April.  

When the sale finalizes, each share of Panera common stock will be cancelled and converted into the right to receive $315. Capital Research Global Investors, the Vanguard Group, BlackRock Institutional Trust Co. and Fidelity Management and Research Co., were Panera's largest shareholders as of March 31. 

St. Louis Bread Co. opened its first restaurant in Kirkwood in 1987. Later renamed Panera, the company has grown to 2,043 restaurants and $2.8 billion in annual revenue. The headquarters will remain in Sunset Hills, CEO Ron Shaich told the Post-Dispatch earlier this year. 

Luxembourg-based investment firm JAB Holding Co. also owns Caribou Coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. 

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Lisa Brown is Business Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.