SAFEWAY AND ALBERTSONS ANNOUNCE DEFINITIVE MERGER AGREEMENT
PLEASANTON, California and BOISE, Idaho – March 6, 2014 – Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) and Albertsons announced today a definitive agreement under which AB Acquisition LLC (“AB Acquisition”) will acquire all outstanding shares of Safeway (the “Merger”). The merger agreement was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of Safeway.
AB Acquisition is the owner of Albertsons LLC and New Albertsons, Inc. (collectively “Albertsons”) and is controlled by a Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. (“Cerberus”)-led investor group, which also includes Kimco Realty Corporation (NYSE:KIM), Klaff Realty LP, Lubert-Adler Partners LP, and Schottenstein Stores Corporation.
As a result of the Merger, plus other actions to be taken by the Safeway Board of Directors as described below, including the separate sales of certain other primarily non-core assets, and the distribution of Blackhawk shares, Safeway shareholders are expected to receive total value estimated at $40 per share.
Albertsons’ Chief Executive Officer Bob Miller stated, “This transaction offers us the opportunity to better serve customers by adapting more quickly to evolving shopping preferences in diverse regions across the country. It also brings together two great organizations with talented management teams. Robert Edwards and his team have done an outstanding job in positioning Safeway’s core business for success, by investing in its stores and creating innovative strategic marketing programs that contribute to shareholder value. Working together will enable us to create cost savings that translate into price reductions for our customers. Together, we will be able to respond to local needs more quickly and deliver outstanding products at the lowest possible price, more efficiently than ever before.”
“This Merger is one of several actions we have taken in recent months as a result of our strategic business review. The combined value of the transactions described above is expected to deliver a premium to Safeway’s shareholders of 72% from one year ago, and 56% over the share price six months ago,” said Robert Edwards, President & Chief Executive Officer of Safeway Inc. “Safeway has been focused on better meeting shoppers’ diverse needs through local, relevant assortment, an improved price/value proposition and a great shopping experience that has driven improved sales trends. We are excited about continuing this momentum as a combined organization. We look forward to working with Bob Miller and the rest of the Albertsons team as we proceed together on a path towards becoming an even stronger organization.”
About the Combined Company – The Merger will create a diversified network that includes over 2,400 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 20 manufacturing plants with over 250,000 dedicated and loyal employees. No store closures are expected as a result of this transaction. Bob Miller, Albertsons current Chief Executive Officer, will become Executive Chairman. Robert Edwards, Safeway’s current President and Chief Executive Officer, will become President and Chief Executive Officer of the combined company.
Banners will include Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Albertsons, ACME, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s, Star Market, Super Saver, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos.
The Merger will enable Albertsons and Safeway to implement operational best practices in order to offer customers an enhanced shopping experience and more competitive prices, while enabling the combined company to pursue industry-leading customer service in an increasingly competitive and dynamic marketplace. Realizing substantial cost savings will allow for investments that are expected to benefit customers, including price reductions as well as store remodels and refurbishments. The diversified network of retail assets, associated distribution centers and manufacturing assets will allow for a broader assortment of products, a more efficient distribution and supply chain, enhanced fresh and perishable offerings, and expanded private label alternatives for customers.
“Albertsons has successfully transformed underperforming retail grocery stores into strong performers by focusing on enhancing the local customer experience,” said Lenard Tessler, Co-Head of Global Private Equity and Senior Managing Director at Cerberus. “Similarly, Safeway has consistently provided outstanding value and customer service throughout the communities it serves. Combining these strong management teams will strengthen the ability of Safeway and Albertsons to deliver on a shared commitment to offering customers higher quality products at lower prices, which will undoubtedly yield positive results for all stakeholders in the business.”
About Safeway Inc. – Safeway Inc., which operates Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, and Carrs stores, is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States with sales of $36.1 billion in 2013. The company operates 1,335 stores in 20 states and the District of Columbia, 13 distribution centers and 20 manufacturing plants, and employs approximately 138,000 employees. The company’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY.
About Albertsons – Established in 2006, AB Acquisition LLC (“Albertsons”), which operates ACME, Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s, Star Market and Super Saver, and stores under the United Family of stores, Amigos, Market Street and United Supermarkets, is working to become the favorite food and drug retailer in every market it serves. The company is privately owned by Cerberus Capital Management, Kimco Realty Corporation, Klaff Realty, Lubert-Adler Partners, and Schottenstein Stores Corporation, and operates 1,075 stores and 14 distribution centers in 29 states and employs approximately 115,000 associates.