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Belgian international food retailer Delhaize Group plans to buy “a substantial majority” of Bi-Lo’s assets, including associated inventory, for a purchase price of $425 million in cash.
The Food Lion parent yesterday entered into a nonbinding letter of intent with Bi-Lo, which is currently under bankruptcy protection. The assets include most of Bi-Lo’s 214 stores, most of its inventory, and the rights to the Bi-Lo brand. Delhaize won’t assume any of Bi-Lo’s debt.
“We at Food Lion, LLC have great admiration for the associates and stores at Bi-Lo,” said Rick Anicetti, EVP of Delhaize Group and president and CEO of Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delhaize. “We believe our markets and service philosophy are complementary, and we look forward to continuing our discussions with Bi-Lo.”
Mauldin, S.C.-based Bi-Lo operates 214 stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia, and employs about 15,500 people. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection March 23. The assets involved in the deal are estimated to have realized over $2 billion in sales in 2008.
The nonbinding offer is subject to the satisfactory completion of the customary steps for such an acquisition, including certain bankruptcy court approvals. Delhaize plans to integrate the Bi-Lo assets into the network of Food Lion, which has more than 1,300 stores in 11 U.S. states and over 74,000 associates.