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    Yucaipa Files to Buy $680M of Supervalu Shares as 'Investment'

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Apparently Supervalu's ambitious strategy has caught the eye of investor/retailer Ron Burkle, whose private equity firm Yucaipa Cos. LLC has said it would acquire $680 million common shares of stock in Supervalu, based here.

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Apparently Supervalu's ambitious strategy has caught the eye of investor/retailer Ron Burkle, whose private equity firm Yucaipa Cos. LLC has said it would acquire $680 million common shares of stock in Supervalu, based here.

    Yucaipa Cos. LLC, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, filed to acquire the Supervalu stock on June 30, 2006, under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, which imposes a 30-day period during which a proposed transaction may not close and which further enables federal agencies to conduct an antitrust investigation.

    Supervalu shares jumped $1.44, or 5.5 percent, to $27.65 during afternoon trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has traded between $26.14 and $35.85 during the past 52 weeks.

    Supervalu chairman and c.e.o. Jeff Noddle has met with Yucaipa chief Burkle, and was told the Yucaipa's interest in the group was for "investment purposes," according to Supervalu.

    Burkle, the former bag-boy-turned-billionaire who founded Yucaipa in 1986, has made a fortune with leveraged buyouts of supermarket chains in recent years. With a solid history of investing in grocery store chains, Yucaipa also owns stakes in Wild Oats Markets Inc. and Pathmark Stores Inc.

    In June, Supervalu led a consortium that included Rhode Island-based drugstore chain CVS Corp., private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management and others to buy Albertson's for $9.7 billion in cash, stock and assumed debt -- bringing the total transaction to about $17.4 billion.

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