BONDHOLDERS FINALLY APPROVE RALPHS-FOOD 4 LESS MERGER

LOS ANGELES -- After months of negotiations, Yucaipa Cos. here said it has reached agreement with all bondholders of Food 4 Less Supermarkets, La Habra, Calif., and Ralphs Grocery Co., Compton, Calif. -- the final step prior to completion of the $1.5 billion merger of the two companies. Yucaipa, parent company of Food 4 Less, said last week it was ready to file documents with the Securities and Exchange

LOS ANGELES -- After months of negotiations, Yucaipa Cos. here said it has reached agreement with all bondholders of Food 4 Less Supermarkets, La Habra, Calif., and Ralphs Grocery Co., Compton, Calif. -- the final step prior to completion of the $1.5 billion merger of the two companies. Yucaipa, parent company of Food 4 Less, said last week it was ready to file documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission outlining the specific terms of its merger agreement with Ralphs. According to a Yucaipa spokesman, 20 business days after the filing, or about a month in total, Yucaipa will initiate an offering of bonds in the new company, which is to be called Ralphs. Once those bonds have been sold, the merger would be completed, he noted. A definitive agreement was signed by the two chains last September. But the merger has been delayed since February while Yucaipa attempted to obtain exchange offers and consent solicitations from bondholders, Ralphs management and other investors in Ralphs. The company extended the deadline for the offer six times.