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Buyers looking at Supervalu units, but not the entire company

Buyers looking at Supervalu units, but not the entire company

According to a Bloomberg story last Friday, Supervalu (Albertsons, Acme, Save-A-Lot, among others) has received several inquiries from potential buyers interested in individual units of the company, but would prefer to sell off the entire business as a whole. Supervalu hired Goldman Sachs and Greenhill & Co. earlier in the summer to find a buyer.

Reportedly Cerberus Capital Management is interested in Albertsons, and Ahold (Giant, Stop & Shop) is looking at the Shoppers chain, which operates in Maryland, Virginia and Washington.

Most analysts believe selling the company as a whole would be far more difficult than selling off its units separately, unless a buyer was willing to keep some of the chains and sell off others. That’s a risky, venture, though, since such a buyer would be taking on $6.14 billion in net debt along with $1.05 billion in pension obligations.

Save-A-Lot, which has a number of stores in the Philadelphia market, would be the most valuable Supervalu asset, according to a Citigroup analyst who thinks the chain is worth about $817 million.

Currently Supervalu and its 11 chains have approximately 2,400 retail food stores and a wholesale business with 2,660 customers.