Grocery store company United Natural Foods (UNFI) has entered a definitive agreement to acquire US-based supermarket chain Supervalu for approximately $2.9bn.

Under the agreement, the deal value includes $32.50 per share in cash and includes the assumption of outstanding debt and liabilities.

The acquisition will expand UNFI’s customer base and presence across various channels where the company is under-represented as well as areas with demand for its ‘better for you’ products.

The deal will also provide new opportunities to the company through a comprehensive product portfolio.

UNFI chief executive officer and chairman Steve Spinner said: “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.

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“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.”

The deal will help UNFI to deliver comprehensive and expanded offerings by adding high-growth perimeter categories such as meat and produce to its natural and organic products.

“We can provide our ‘better for you’ products, as well as other high-growth segments, improving customers’ competitive advantages in a dynamic marketplace.”

As part of the deal, the combined entity is expected to increase efficiencies and effectiveness leveraging its wider geographic footprint. It also plans to leverage scalable systems to streamline its processes.

Following the completion of the transaction, Spinner will lead the combined entity and UNFI chief operating officer Sean Griffin will oversee integration efforts.

Griffin will also lead an integration committee comprised of executives from both companies to drive the implementation of best practises from each company.

The transaction is subject to anti-trust approvals, Supervalu shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.