Two iconic grocery chains, Safeway and Albertsons, have agreed to merge in a deal worth $9.1 billion, with a combined footprint of more than 2,400 stores and a quarter million employees.
Cerberus, owner of Albertsons, said it will pay $40 a share for Safeway The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.
The vast network of retail assets, distribution centers and manufacturing sites "will allow for a broader assortment of products, a more efficient distribution and supply chain, enhanced fresh and perishable offerings" and other benefits, according to a joint statement made on Thursday (March 6.)
Albertsons CEO Bob Miller become executive chairman of the combined company while Safeway CEO Robert Edwards will retain that title at the combined company.
The deal gives other bidders 21 days to make counter offers, with a possible 15-day extension, according to the release.