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    Sobeys to Buy 20-unit Thrifty Foods

    STELLARTON, N.S. and CENTRAL SAANICH, B.C. -- Grocery retailer Sobeys, Inc.; its parent company Empire Co, Ltd.; and supermarket operator Thrifty Foods have entered into an agreement for Sobeys to purchase Thrifty for CAN $260 million (US $249 million), the companies said yesterday.

    STELLARTON, N.S. and CENTRAL SAANICH, B.C. -- Grocery retailer Sobeys, Inc.; its parent company Empire Co, Ltd.; and supermarket operator Thrifty Foods have entered into an agreement for Sobeys to purchase Thrifty for CAN $260 million (US $249 million), the companies said yesterday.

    The proposed transaction is subject to adjustments for, among other items, assumed liabilities and working capital at closing. At closing, the deal will immediately be accretive to Sobeys and Empire, Sobeys said.

    "Thrifty is a very well respected and well run food-focused retailer with great management and a reputation for exceptional customer service," said Sobeys president and c.e.o. Bill McEwan. Its business includes 20 full-service supermarkets, a main distribution center, and a wholesale division on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

    "Over the last 30 years, working alongside a dedicated and talented group of people, we have built a market leader in the retail grocery business," noted Thrifty Foods chairman Alex A. Campbell. "More recently, we have come to the realization that if we want to continue as the market leader, then we must commit to a new era of growth."

    The deal is slated to close during Sobeys' and Empire's second quarter, following receipt of regulatory approval and completion of due diligence.

    Sobeys owns or franchises over 1,300 stores in all 10 Canadian provinces under such retail banners as Sobeys, IGA, Foodland, and Price Chopper food stores, and Lawtons Drug Stores.

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