Pret A Manger is to be sold for £1.5 billion to a company controlled by a family of German billionaires.
A majority stake in the sandwich chain, owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint, will be offloaded to JAB, the investment vehicle of Germany’s wealthy Reimann family.
Bridgepoint, which bought Pret for £364 million in 2008, had been considering listing the firm in New York.
“This agreement recognises the hard work of all our amazing teams around the world. Bridgepoint has been wonderful owners of the business for more than a decade.
“All of us at Pret believe JAB will be excellent long-term strategic owners. JAB believes in Pret’s values and supports our growth plans.”
Mr Schlee also said on Twitter that 12,000 Pret employees will be given £1,000 when the deal completes.
Pret has 530 stores worldwide and is rapidly expanding globally in countries such as the US, China and France.
It booked revenues of £879 million last year.
Olivier Goudet, JAB partner and chief executive, said: “We’re very excited to partner with Pret and its talented team to continue their extraordinary growth story.
“Management’s proven track record and commitment to customer service, investment in innovation and approach to freshly prepared food position Pret well as it capitalises on evolving consumer taste and lifestyle preferences.
“We look forward to working with Clive Schlee and his management team, while promoting the Pret brand and supporting Pret’s impressive culture for the next phase in the company’s growth with JAB.”
JAB is also behind Krispy Kreme donuts, Kenco coffee and Dr Pepper.