Panera Bread is exploring a sale after receiving takeover interest, according to Bloomberg. The St. Louis-based bakery chain's stock surged more than 7% on the news, before being halted at $286.48 per share. At that price, Panera has a market cap of nearly $6.6 billion, an all-time high.

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Data:; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it matters: If Panera were sold for at least its current market cap, that would make it the largest M&A transaction ever for a U.S.-based restaurant company, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence (and the second-largest for North America, behind the 2014 purchase of Tim Horton's).

Financials: Revenue last year climbed by 4.2% to nearly $4.8 billion, while net income fell by 2.5% to $146 million.

Shareholders: Panera's largest shareholders are: Capital Research & Management Co (9.43% of outstanding shares), Wellington Management (7.38%), Vanguard (7.29%), BlackRock (7.12%) and founder and CEO Ron Shaich (5.4%).

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Postal slowdown threatens election breakdown

In 24 hours, signs of a pre-election postal slowdown have moved from the shadows to the spotlight, with evidence emerging all over the country that this isn't a just a potential threat, but is happening before our eyes.

Why it matters: If you're the Trump administration, and you're in charge of the federal government, remember that a Pew poll published in April found the Postal Service was viewed favorably by 91% of Americans.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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USPS pushes election officials to pay more for mail ballots

Protesters gather in Kalorama Park in D.C. today before demonstrating outside the condo of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Photo: Cheriss May/Reuters

The Postal Service has urged state election officials to pay first class for mail ballots, which Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says could nearly triple the cost.

Why it matters: Senate Democrats claim that "it has been the practice of USPS to treat all election mail as First Class mail regardless of the paid class of service."