The high street food company has been sold to JAB – the investment vehicle of Germany’s wealthy Reimann family – in a deal worth an estimated £1.5 billion.
Pret’s chief executive Clive Schlee subsequently announced 12,000 of its employees, from head office staff to baristas, would receive a £1,000 payout on completion of the deal.
The ubiquitous high street chain has been majority owned by private equity group Bridgepoint, as well as other minority shareholders.
The sale is expected to be completed by the end of this summer.
Pret has Scottish outlets in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and St Andrews. The chain owns 530 stores worldwide.
Details of the deal were not revealed, but JAB has reportedly agreed to pay £1.5bn for the UK company.
JAB also runs the Krispy Kreme donut franchise, as well as Kenco coffee and Dr Pepper.
Mr Schlee said it was a “day of celebration” for the company.
“This agreement recognises the hard work of all our amazing teams around the world,” he said.
“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.
“I am really looking forward to this next chapter of Pret’s story.”
Mr Schlee said Pret delivered “solid results” for 2017, recording its ninth consecutive year of like-for-like sales growth.
JAB chief executive Olivier Goudet 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.”