NEW YORK( TheStreet) - Grocer Winn-Dixie Stores (WINN) said it will be sold to rival supermarket chain BI-LO in a buyout that values the company at $560 million, or $9.50 a share, a 75% premium to Friday's close.
With Winn Dixie, BI-LO's merged supermarket business will contain 690 stores in the southeast, which employ over 63,000 employees. BI-LO is privately held by majority private equity owner Lone Star Funds, which bought the company in 2005 and is reorganizing it after a 2009 bankruptcy.
In 2005, Lone Star bought BI-Lo and Bruno's Supermarkets. Other privately-owned supermarket chains like Food Lion have previously been reported to be interested in buying Bi-Lo.
The move to buy Winn Dixie signals that BI-LO and Lone Star are trying to opportunistically expand in states like North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee as part of a multi-year bankruptcy plan. It's competitors include Safeway (SWY - Get Report), Supervalu (SVU - Get Report) and Kroger (KRO - Get Report), among other regional supermarket powerhouses.For BI-LO, the purchase allows the company to expand regionally to tap new grocery-shoppers, bolstering sales. "With no overlap in our markets, the combined company will have a perfect geographic fit that will create a stronger platform from which to provide our customers great products at a great value, while continuing to offer exceptional service," said BI-LO Chairman Randall Onstead in a statement announcing the deal. For more on Winn Dixie, see 6 stocks that will benefit from reverse migration. Winn Dixie shares rose nearly 70% $9.27 in early trading. Previously, its shares were off nearly 25% year-to-date.
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