Safeway Sold for About $9.4 Billion


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Safeway Inc., the second largest U.S. grocery store chain, said Thursday it agreed to be acquired by the supermarket chain Albertson's, which is backed by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, for about $9.4. billion.

Albertson's offer price was $40 per share, which is a little upside overall from current market share prices. Safeway closed at the New York Stock Exchange at $39.47 Thursday.

The deal merges Safeway with Albertson's stores, creating a network of more than 2,400 grocery stores and 250,000 employees.

No store closures are expected.

Cerberus purchased Albertson's and Jewel-Osco from Supervalu in early 2013 for $3.3 billion, and is pushing ahead with acquiring additional supermarket property with the deal with Safeway. The company's off of $40 per share includes an offer of $32.50 in cash to shareholders, plus other distributions at an estimated value of $3.65 per share, and a distribution of stock in Blackhawk Network Holdings worth $3.95 a share.

Black Hawk Networks Holdings is the gift card provider which Safeway traded off last year into a publicly traded company in an effort to streamline its operations.

The deal reportedly indicates that Safeway will consider other offers superior to Albertson's $40 per share deal for the next 45 days. Kroger, another supermarket giant, has been reported as a possible buyer.

Safeway Inc. also made headlines Thursday afternoon after agreeing to pay $2.25 million to settle a consumer protection action suit in California. The company was fined for false adverting, pricing discrepancies, failing to honor coupons, and false claims of "locally grown" produce.

According to the settlement, Pleasanton's Safeway must "clearly and conspicuously disclose any inclusions, exceptions or limitations to any Safeway offers, coupons or discounts," according to the settlement.

The chain, which had revenues of $36 billion in 2013, will be managed under Albertson's once the sales deal is complete.

Image via Wikimedia Commons