Delhaize Group, the Belgian international food retailer, has entered into a non-binding letter of intent with BI-LO LLC to acquire a substantial majority of BI-LO’s assets, including associated inventory, for a purchase price of US$425 million in cash. This announcement was made in the context of BI-LO’s bankruptcy proceedings in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina.
BI-LO is a food retailer that currently operates 214 stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia and employs approximately 15,500 people. The company is headquartered in Mauldin SC. BI-LO and certain of its affiliates filed voluntary petitions March 23, 2009, for relief under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina. The included BI-LO assets are estimated to have realized more than US$2 billion in sales in 2008.
Rick Anicetti, executive vice-president of Delhaize Group and president and chief executive officer of Food Lion, said, “We at Food Lion LLC have great admiration for the associates and stores at BI-LO. We believe our markets and service philosophy are complementary, and we look forward to continuing our discussions with BI-LO.”
The non-binding offer is subject to satisfactory completion of customary steps for such an acquisition, including certain bankruptcy court approvals. Delhaize Group and BI-LO intend to close the transaction shortly after obtaining the entry of a final non-appealable sale order of the bankruptcy court pursuant to Section 363 of the US Bankruptcy Code, authorizing the transfer of the purchased assets to Food Lion. Delhaize Group intends to integrate the included BI-LO assets in the network of its wholly owned subsidiary Food Lion. A food retailer, Food Lion has more than 1,300 stores in 11 US states and has more than 74,000 associates.
Delhaize Group is present in six nations on three continents. At the end of the second quarter of 2009, its sales network consisted of 2,684 stores. In 2008, Delhaize Group posted EUR 19 billion (US$28 billion) in revenues and EUR 467 million (US$687 million) in net profit (group share). At the end of 2008, Delhaize Group employed about 141,000 people.