Supervalu traded up to the position of America's #3 grocer in 2006 with the acquisition of most of the supermarket operations of struggling rival Albertsons. That deal created a national giant with around 2,400 food and drug stores across the country under a variety of different banners, as well as an extensive wholesale distribution network supplying almost 2,000 additional independents. Yet the acquisition never really worked, with Supervalu merely inheriting the same problems which had previously plagued Albertsons. The merger was unwound at the beginning of 2013, with the sale of Albertsons and other banners to private equity investor Cerberus (eventually creating what is now Albertsons Companies). That transaction effectively shrank Supervalu back to its original pre-deal size. At the same time, Cerberus acquired a large holding in the slimmed-down Supervalu business, giving it effective control of both businesses. In a further split, Supervalu's biggest remaining retail chain, discounter Save-A-Lot, is to be sold in 2016, leaving the group focused on wholesale and a small traditional retail network.
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Adbrands Weekly Update 20th Oct 2016: US retail group Supervalu agreed to sell off its hard-pressed Save-A-Lot discount grocery chain to private equity buyer Onex for $1.4bn. It will leave the group focused on wholesale distribution and a small remaining portfolio of around 200 traditional grocery retailers.
Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Mar 2014: Safeway and Albertsons, two of America's biggest traditional supermarket groups, are to merge under private equity ownership, forming a stronger rival to leading group Kroger and discounters Walmart and Target. Albertsons is already owned by an investor group led by private equity giant Cerebrus. This has agreed to acquire larger rival Safeway for around $9bn, aligning Albertsons, Safeway and their subsidiary banners under a single management team. Albertsons' Bob Miller becomes executive chairman of the combined group, with Safeway's Robert Edwards as president & CEO. In total the two chains operate around 2,400 stores nationally, 27 distribution facilities and 20 manufacturing plants. Safeway had sales of just over $36bn in 2013 to Albertsons' $23bn. Cerberus is also the biggest shareholder in Albertsons' former owner, the value supermarket chain and wholesaler Supervalu. The announcement could prompt rival offers: Safeway has negotiated a "go shop" clause, allowing it a limited window in which it can solicit higher bids from another buyer. However, under any such competing deal, it would have to pay Cerberus a substantial termination fee of between $150m and $250m.
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