Kroger (KO) and Albertsons (AIC) are hoping to close a major deal that would help them get regulatory clearance in the U.S. As part of acquiring clearance from regulators for their merger that would be worth roughly $24.5 billion, they are planning to offload over 400 grocery stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers, according to reports from popular outlets. The sale will cost C&S almost $2 billion.
Earlier, Bloomberg reported that sources informed them that there were talks of a proposed deal to offload stores to the large grocer to make it easier for the two giants to meet regulatory issues and the involvement of Soft Bank but did not mention any terms of the deal. On September 6, Reuters reported that sources mentioned the details of the above deal that could take place this week but asked for anonymity as the negotiations remain confidential.
Earlier, Kroger and Albertsons had spoken of a divesture of 100 to 375 stores and said that they would be placed in a new company owned by the shareholders of Albertsons. In a regulatory filing, Kroger had said that the maximum number of stores that could be divested would be 650.
In 2019, Ahold Delhaize one of the largest customers of C&S Grocery, began self-distribution. C&S began to look at building its own stores as the grocery market is extremely competitive. Soft Bank is reportedly in talks with C&S to partly finance the deal with Kroger and Albertsons.
Soft Bank is expected to help in financing this non-tech-related deal as it is in a joint venture with Symbiotic Inc, a warehouse automation company whose CEO is Rick Cohen. Cohen is also an executive chairman at C&S Grocers.
Neither Kroger, Albertsons, C&S Wholesale Grocers nor Soft Bank have confirmed the deal.
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