(UPDATED COVERAGE, 4:07 p.m., Jan. 10) Struggling retail giant Supervalu Inc. is selling its Albertsons stores and four other chains, hiring a new president/chief executive officer and reorganizing its corporate structure.
In a deal valued at $3.3 billion, Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu is selling Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market stores to Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management LP, according to a Supervalu news release.
The sale comes seven years after Supervalu bought Albertsons for $17.7 billion.
“It had to be a fire sale, and it was,” said Monrovia, Calif.-based retail consultant Dick Spezzano. “They’ve basically gone back to what they were before.”
Albertsons was never a good fit for Supervalu’s wholesale grocery model, and Supervalu will be better off without it, Spezzano said.
In addition to buying the five chains from Supervalu, AB Acquisition will make a tender offer for up to 30% of Supervalu’s outstanding common stock.
Once the deal is finalized, grocery veteran Sam Duncan will be the company’s president and chief executive officer. Duncan will replace Wayne Sales, Supervalu’s president, chief executive officer and chairman, according to the release.
Duncan, the former president of retailers Ralphs Grocery Co., Fred Meyer and Shopko, has a good reputation in the industry, Spezzano said.
“He’s been around, and everything he did at Ralphs was very good,” he said.
Sales has served as CEO since July, when the company dismissed Craig Herkert. Also in July, Supervalu announced that its first-quarter fiscal 2013 profits fell 45%.
In September, the company announced plans to close 60 stores because of what Sales called a “sense of urgency” to reduce costs.
In addition to the sale, stock purchase and hiring of Duncan, five Supervalu directors will resign and the company’s board will be reduced temporarily from 10 to seven members. Four additional board members will be added later.
After the deal, Supervalu will have about 1,950 stores, including about 1,300 Save-A-Lot stores. Supervalu also owns the Cub, Farm Fresh, Shoppers, Shop ‘n Save and Hornbacher’s banners.