The investment group buying Shaw’s and its sister supermarket brand Star Market said it plans no immediate changes at the New England chains.
The grocers are part of a larger $3.3 billion buyout that would put the supermarkets in the hands of private equity firms, including Cerberus Capital Management, the company that controls the Boston-based Steward Health Care System hospital network.
The struggling parent of the Shaw’s and Star Market stores, Supervalu Inc. of Minnesota, said Thursday that it has agreed to sell several of its supermarket chains to an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management LP. There are 155 Shaw’s stores and 14 Star Markets with a total 17,000 employees.
Supervalu said it has agreed to sell its Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market stores, and related Osco and Sav-on in-store pharmacies to AB Acquisition LLC, a consortium of firms that includes Cerberus, Kimco Realty Corp., Klaff Realty LP, Lubert-Adler Partners, and Schottenstein Real Estate Group, in a transaction valued at $3.3 billion, which includes $100 million in cash and the assumption of $3.2 billion in debt. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.
Roughly six years ago, Albertsons was split between two companies. One was Supervalu, which operates some stores under the Albertsons nameplate. A separate company, Albertson’s LLC, currently operates about 200 stores. Cerberus is an investor in Albertson’s LLC, which is expected to run the different grocery brands.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to acquire Acme, Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, and Shaw’s and Star Market. We see great potential to improve operations, drive new energy, and create a ‘winning attitude’ with our store-level associates and earn back our customers’ trust and business,” Albertson’s LLC chief executive Bob Miller said in a statement.
In November, West Bridgewater-based Shaw’s said it planned to cut 700 jobs, or just under 4 percent of its total employee headcount.
Steve Sylven, a spokesman for Shaw’s and Star Market, said the proposed deal includes all of the stores.
No job cuts or closures are part of this announcement, he added.
“The management teams for both organizations will determine staffing needs and roles/responsibilities for their respective companies. This process may take several months,” Sylven said.
Christine Wilcox, a spokeswoman for Albertson’s LLC, said “There are no immediate, specific plans for Shaw’s or Star Market.”
She also said Albertson’s expects to keep the brand names.
“We think the banners have very strong brand value and great associates, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to drive growth in these market areas,” Wilcox said.