Noted private equity investor Sam Zell has confirmed his interest in acquiring stores to be spun off in the Albertsons-Safeway deal.
In a televised interview Sunday, Zell said Albertsons and Safeway’s focus on completing the $9 billion, 2,400-store deal has created an attractive price for 140 stores those companies may be required to divest in order to meet regulatory approval of the merger.
Zell, who leads Chicago-based Equity Group Investments, at one time owned Quality Food Centers, the Seattle supermarket chain now belonging to Kroger Co.
“Obviously, like any deal, it starts with the price,” Zell said in the interview with Fox News. “In this particular case, this is a $9 or $10 billion merger of Safeway and Albertsons and this is 140 stores that they were forced to divest. So their focus is on getting the big deal done, which creates an opportunistic environment on taking care of the remnants."
Zell is said to be working with Stuart Sloan, a former QFC president, reports said.
“We have a lot of confidence in the supermarket business,” Zell told Fox. “We’ve been in it before, very successfully, and we think this is an interesting opportunity, and a good deployment of capital.”
Oaktree Capital Management and Convest Partners are also said to be bidders for the Albertsons-Safeway divestitures, according to reports. Neither Safeway nor Albertsons have commented on possible divestitures. They expect their merger to completed shortly.
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