Bi-Lo to buy Winn-Dixie grocery market chain

Bi-Lo to buy Winn-Dixie grocery market chain

December 19th, 2011 by Dave Flessner in Local - Breaking News

Bi-Lo employees take a break outside the new Super Bi-Lo on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road Tuesday. The store opens Wednesday and boasts a wide selection of organic and fresh foods and a more open atmosphere, according to Bi-Lo region Vice President Dwayne Goodwin. Staff Photo By Kelly Wegel

POLL: Do you frequently shop at Bi-Lo?

The Bi-Lo grocery chain announced today that it will acquire Winn-Dixie to create one of the South's largest supermarket chains with 690 grocery stores and 63,000 employees in eight states.

Bi-Lo LLC said it will pay more than $560 million, or $9.50 per share, to acquire all of the outstanding stock of Winn-Dixie. The purchase price represents a 75 percent premium above Winn-Dixie's closing price on Friday.

"With no overlap in our markets, the combined company will have a perfect geographic fit that will create a stronger platform from which to provide our customers great products at a great value, while continuing to offer exceptional service," Bi-Lo Chairman Randall Onstead said. "Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie are both strong regional brands with similar heritages, compelling customer connections, and outstanding employees. Both have been an important part of the communities and families they serve, and we look forward to building upon these two iconic brands and serving loyal customers for years to come."

The merger is expected to close in the next 60 to 120 days, subject to the approval of Winn-Dixie shareholders and anti-trust regulators, company officials said. Following the completion of the merger, Winn-Dixie will become a privately-held, wholly owned subsidiary of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie's common stock will cease trading on the Nasdaq Exchange.

Until the merger is complete, both BI-LO and Winn-Dixie will continue to operate as separate companies.

Following completion of the merger, it is anticipated that the companies will continue to operate under the BI-LO and Winn-Dixie banners that their customers have come to trust.

BI-LO and Winn-Dixie do not currently expect any store closures as a result of the combination. The combined company's executive management team structure and headquarters location will be decided as the companies move closer to finalizing the transaction; however, it is expected that the combined company will maintain a presence in both Greenville and Jacksonville.

"This transaction with BI-LO provides Winn-Dixie shareholders with a significant cash premium for their shares," said Peter Lynch, chairman, CEO and president of Winn-Dixie. "By combining BI-LO and Winn-Dixie, we anticipate building a company that is stronger than our individual businesses and creating opportunities for continued advancement through the cross-pollination of our people and the sharing of ideas across our organizations, all to the benefit of our guests, suppliers, team members and the neighborhoods that Winn-Dixie serves."

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