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Sources: C&S wins bidding for AWI

C&S Wholesale Grocers was the high bidder in a marathon auction for the assets of Associated Wholesalers Inc., sources told SN.

If approved at a court hearing scheduled for later this week, the Keene, N.H.-based wholesaler will gain control of AWI’s independent distribution business based in Robsonia, Pa., as well as its New Jersey-based White Rose wholesale business, serving Northeast chains including Fairway Market and Met Foods.

A spokesman for AWI declined comment to SN on the results of the auction, citing the hearing. AWI is currently operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The winning bid, totaling around $288 million, was submitted early Saturday morning, the source said, more than 12 hours after the auction began, sources said. C&S and Supervalu were the only bidders. The winning bid was nearly $100 million more than the “stalking horse” offer C&S made at the time that AWI filed for bankruptcy protection with the intention of selling itself in early September.

In a September release issued in conjunction with its initial bid, Rick Cohen, chairman and CEO of C&S said “The addition of AWI and White Rose would expand C&S’s footprint and enhance our significant capabilities in servicing independent grocers. AWI and White Rose have a terrific customer base, and their distribution capabilities are a natural complement to our existing portfolio. We believe we are strongly positioned to provide all of their customers with the goods and services they need to successfully run and even grow their businesses.”

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