Safeway said to be possible target for PE firms

Safeway said to be possible target for PE firms

Cerberus Capital Management, the US private-equity firm that acquired a chunk of Supervalu Inc's business earlier this year, is reportedly weighing up a move for another US grocer, Safeway Inc.

According to Reuters, Cerberus is among a group of buy-out firms mulling a bid for either all or part of Safeway.

The report said Safeway knew about the interest and was running through its options with advisors from Goldman Sachs.

Last month, Safeway moved to block a potential hostile takeover by investment vehicle Jana Partners.

Safeway adopted a one-year stockholder rights plan providing shareholders with the right to buy additional shares at a discount if one shareholder buys 10% of the retailer's shares. The move came after Jana Partners disclosed it had acquired over 6% of the retailer.

When contacted by just-food, Safeway refused to be drawn on the report. "We don't comment on rumours," a spokesperson said. Cerberus had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

In January, Cerberus moved to buy five chains owned by US grocer Supervalu.

One upshot of that deal was that it brought the Albertsons stores back together under one entity. Cerberus formed Albertson's LLC in 2006 when it acquired over 600 Albertsons stores from Supervalu, which held on to some of the outlets. The transaction this January included the Albertsons stores retained by Supervalu, as well as its Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's and Star Market.

Last month, Cerberus-backed Albertson's LLC added to its network with the acquisition of family-owned Texan supermarket chain United Supermarkets.