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December 11, 2018updated 03 Nov 2021 5:44am

Empire closes acquisition of food retailer Farm Boy for $618.31m

Canadian conglomerate Empire Company has closed the acquisition of food retailer Farm Boy from Berkshire Partners and Farm Boy’s management shareholders for a total enterprise value of $618.31m.

Canadian conglomerate Empire Company has closed the acquisition of food retailer Farm Boy from Berkshire Partners and Farm Boy’s management shareholders for a total enterprise value of $618.31m.

The company closed the deal after satisfying all closing conditions, including the Competition Bureau’s approval.

Established in 1981, Farm Boy currently operates 26 locations in Brantford, Cambridge, Cornwall, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Ottawa, Pickering, Toronto and Whitby areas of Ontario.

The deal, which was announced in September this year, expands the presence of Empire’s Sobeys and FreshCo banners in Ontario, as well as accelerates its growth in urban markets.

Empire president and CEO Michael Medline said: “We are thrilled to officially team up with Farm Boy. They have an incredible brand, great stores and customer service, and a superb leadership team.

Farm Boy founder and co-CEO Jean-Louis Bellemare and co–CEO Jeff York will remain investors in the company and will continue in their roles for the long term, managing the business separately from Empire’s broader operations.

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“We look forward to turbo-charging Farm Boy’s growth and allowing them to broaden the reach of their winning formula.”

“We look forward to turbo-charging Farm Boy’s growth and allowing them to broaden the reach of their winning formula.”

The deal was financed by Sobeys, a subsidiary of Empire, through a combination of cash on hand and a new $400m non-revolving credit facility.

At the time of the announcement of the acquisition, Empire noted that it will introduce Farm Boy concept in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), as well as expand its presence in the southwestern Ontario by establishing new stores and converting existing Sobeys locations.

Empire will also offer Farm Boy’s private label products through Sobeys’ new Ocado-based e-commerce business. The business is scheduled to launch in 2020 in the GTA.