NEW YORK - Panera Bread says it is buying bakery chain Au Bon Pain to boost its presence in airports, hospitals and colleges.
The deal, announced Wednesday, brings the two chains together again. They were part of the same company in the 1990s, until Au Bon Pain was sold in 1999 to a private equity firm and Panera became the focus.
Panera did not say how much it will pay for Boston-based Au Bon Pain, which operates more than 300 locations. St. Louis-based Panera has more than 2,000 restaurants.
In July, Panera was bought and taken private for more than $7 billion by JAB Holding Co., a European company that has controlling interests in Krispy Kreme, Peet's Coffee and other chains.
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