Samuel Zell, a Chicago real estate mogul, is now among three bidders vying for 100 supermarkets being sold off by Albertsons.
Talks are still in the works and there have been no agreements yet, reported The New York Times. Albertsons, which is owned by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, is looking to sell the portfolio of stores in order to gain regulatory approval for a planned merger with Safeway (NYSE:SWY).
Zell is backed by Stuart Sloan, a longtime retail executive who was previously chairman of Quality Food Centers, and other anonymous people.
The other two bidders for the stores include Oaktree Capital Management and Comvest Partners.
The Federal Trade Commission is currently reviewing the sale process and must sign off on the winning bidder. Deborah Feinstein, director of the commission's bureau of competition, said they would give the parties guidance on which bidders would or would not be acceptable.
Ceberus acquired Albertsons in 2013 and in March agreed to buy Safeway in a deal worth more than $9 billion. The acquisition was voted on and approved by Safeway's board of directors in March. The news came just days after Safeway announced it was looking for a buyer and rumors that Kroger had an interest in the purchase.
Once merged, Albertsons would become the second largest supermarket chain in the United States.
-See this The New York Times article
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