Stock of Panera Bread jumped more than 10% Monday amid rumors that the fast-casual restaurant chain may be the target of a takeover.
Shares of the St. Louis-based restaurant operator were trading at $288.49, up $26.62, at 12:50 p.m. ET after Bloomberg News quoted sources as saying the company has received takeover interest.
Panera has tried to stand out in the fast-casual segment by emphasizing its health appeal -- sandwiches, soups and other offerings made without ingredients that can worry consumers. For instance, it released its "No-No list," which banned 150 ingredients, ranging from lard to sucralose, in 2015. It also has rules about animal confinement and antibiotics. Last week, Panera announced that it would post calories and added sugar amounts to its soft-drink dispensers.
Panera had 2,036 of its restaurants in 46 states and Canada as of Dec. 27.
The company declined to address the rumors.
“As a matter of policy, we never comment on rumors or speculation," CFO Michael Bufano said in a written statement.
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