Supervalu to sell Save-A-Lot to Onex for $1.37 bln: Reuters

Supervalu Inc (SVU.N) said it would sell its Save-A-Lot business to Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp (OCX.TO) for US$1.37 billion, more than a year after making public plans to spin off the discount grocery chain.

Supervalu has been looking to separate the more profitable division, which also generates about a quarter of the company’s sales, from its slower-growing grocery wholesale and food retail businesses as bigger rivals such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) increase their focus on groceries.

Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Supervalu will enter into a five-year agreement to provide Save-A-Lot with some services and support functions as part of the deal, the company said on Monday.

Save-A-Lot has a network of about 1,370 company-owned and licensed stores across 37 states in the United States, the Caribbean and Central America.

Onex made the best offer in an auction for Save-A-Lot, Reuters reported in September.

Supervalu decided to explore an outright sale of the discount grocery chain after receiving interest from several private equity firms, Reuters reported in December.

Supervalu said on Monday it expects to use the sale proceeds to prepay at least US$750 million of its outstanding term loan.

The deal is expected to close by January 31, the companies said.

Barclays Capital Inc and Greenhill & Co LLC are financial advisers to Supervalu, while Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is the legal adviser.

Update: Onex Partners IV will make an equity investment of about US$660 million in the acquisition of Save-A-Lot, Toronto-based Onex said in a statement.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Jim Young