Safeway in talks with Kroger over asset purchases

Safeway (NYSE:SWY) announced last month that it was looking for a buyer, and Kroger has reportedly stepped up to the plate. Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the U.S., has expressed interest in buying part of Safeway's operations, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Kroger has reportedly also contacted private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which has been rumored as a possible Safeway buyer. Kroger reached out to the firm about potentially acquiring the stores that Cerberus doesn't want to buy, however, sources claim that Safeway would rather be sold as a whole. Cerberus owns a supermarket business that operates Albertsons, Shaw's and Jewel-Osco.

Safeway announced on Feb. 20 that it was in discussions about a possible sale of the company, without identifying any potential buyers.  The news came after the company had spent months trying to revamp business and increase sales at its 1,300 locations nationwide. 

Last June, Safeway sold its entire Canadian unit to Sobey's for $5.7 billion. Then in October, Safeway put all its Dominick's stores up for sale. Months later, more than 40 of the 72 total locations that didn't find buyers were left vacant when they closed in December. The remainder went to competitors including Jewel-Osco, Mariano's and Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFM).

For more:
-See this Bloomberg article

Related stories:
Safeway stock rallies on buyout rumors; debt concerns rise
Investors happy about Safeway shedding Dominick's
Safeway Canada sells out to Sobey's for $5.7 billion
Whole Foods confirms plan to buy 7 former Dominick's stores in Chicago
Safeway will pay $600K for pollution violations  

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