Food Business News - August 7, 2018 - 11


United Natural Foods to scoop up
Supervalu for about $2.9 billion

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - United Natural Foods,
Inc. (U.N.F.I.) has reached an agreement
to acquire Minneapolis-based Supervalu
for $32.50 per share in cash, or approximately $2.9 billion.
"This transaction accelerates
U.N.F.I.'s 'Build out the Store' growth
strategy by immediately enhancing our
product range, equipping us to bring an
attractive, comprehensive product portfolio to an expanded universe of customers," said Steve Spinner, chief executive
officer and chairman of U.N.F.I. "Combining our leading position in natural
and organic foods with Supervalu's presence in fast-turning products makes us
the partner of choice for a broader range
of customers. Together, we can provide
our 'better-for-you' products as well as
other high-growth segments, improving
customers' competitive advantages in a
dynamic marketplace. These benefits,
plus our increased efficiency and productivity, will enable us to create value for
our shareholders, enhance opportunities for our suppliers, provide a broader
assortment for our customers and create
new prospects for our associates over the
long term."
Mark Gross, c.e.o. of Supervalu, said
the transaction represents the "best and
natural next step" for the company as it
continues to execute a strategic transformation plan that was put in place more
than two years ago.
The companies identified several
strategic benefits to the transaction, including a diversified customer base, better cross-selling opportunities, expanded market reach and scale, enhanced
technology, capacity and systems.
Potential financial benefits include
significant synergies and accelerated
growth. The companies said they expect

August 7, 2018

U.N.F.I. to realize run rate cost synergies
of more than $175 million by year three
of the merged company. Meanwhile,
after year one the transaction is projected to be accretive to adjusted earnings
per share in year one with double-digit
adjusted e.p.s. growth after year one,
excluding one-time costs.
U.N.F.I. said it plans to divest Supervalu's retail assets.
Mr. Spinner will lead the combined
company, while Sean Griffin, currently
chief operating officer of U.N.F.I., will
lead the Supervalu integration efforts,
post close, and lead an integration
committee comprised of executives from
both companies to drive the implementation of best practices from each company
and the delivery of important synergies.
Mickey Chadha, vice-president at
Moody's Corp., said the transaction gives
more credence to the ratings agency's
assessment that the wholesale food distribution business needs scale to counter
the pricing and competitive pressure permeating throughout the food retailing
"With extremely thin margins at
Supervalu and organic growth opportunities hard to come by due to the
challenging business environment for its
wholesale distribution customers, which
are primarily independent food retailers
or small retail grocery chains that are
challenged the most in the current promotional environment, it makes sense to
join forces with U.N.F.I., which has over
35% of its sales to grocery stores that
specialize in faster growing natural and
organic foods, including Whole Foods,"
Mr. Chadha said.
U.N.F.I. distributes more than
110,000 products to more than 43,000
customer locations, including natural
product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains,
e-commerce retailers and food service
customers. The company generated $9.3
billion in revenue in fiscal 2017.
Supervalu is one of the largest
grocery wholesalers in the United States
with a network of 3,437 stores and
approximately 23,000 employees. The
company has fiscal 2018 annual sales of
approximately $14 billion. FBN
Food Business News


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