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    FTC Allows Bi-Lo to Divest Fewer Stores

    Grocer must only sell 1 former Sweetbay store instead of 4

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved changes to an order it issued last year to address competition concerns in the matter of Bi-Lo Holdings LLC's acquisition of 154 stores from Delhaize America LLC, according to a published report. The modified order of the February 2014 settlement requires Bi-Lo to sell only one former Sweetbay store in Florida, instead of the original four.

    The four locations, in Arcadia, Dunnellon, Lake Placid and Wauchula, were originally to be sold to Florida operator Rowe's IGA Supermarkets, Law360 reported, but Rowe's backed out of the deal and Jacksonville, Fla.-based Bi-Lo has been unable to find another buyer for all four stores. Bi-Lo was originally directed to divest a total of 12 locations in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina so that the deal with Salisbury, N.C.-based Delhaize could be completed.

    The one store, the Wauchula location, must be sold to Sarasota, Fla.-based Sunripe Market Inc. within 30 days of the modified order's finalization. The rest of the settlement remains the same.

    In May 2013, Bi-Lo, which is majority-owned by Dallas-based private equity firm Lone Star Funds, revealed that it would pay $265 million for 154 stores from Delhaize: 73 Sweetbay supermarkets and leases to 10 closed stores, in addition to 71 Harveys and 10 Reid’s supermarkets. The FTC subsequently filed a complaint that the deal would subject consumers to higher prices, lower quality and poor service levels in several regions that were already highly concentrated.

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