United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), Providence, R.I., announced plans to acquire SUPERVALU INC., Minneapolis, for approximately $2.9 billion.

"This transaction accelerates UNFI's ‘Build out the Store’ growth strategy by immediately enhancing our product range, equipping us to bring an attractive, comprehensive product portfolio to an expanded universe of customers," says Steve Spinner, UNFI's chairman and CEO. "Combining our leading position in natural and organic foods with SUPERVALU's presence in fast-turning products makes us the partner of choice for a broader range of customers. Together, we can provide our ‘better for you’ products as well as other high-growth segments, improving customers' competitive advantages in a dynamic marketplace. These benefits, plus our increased efficiency and productivity, will enable us to create value for our shareholders, enhance opportunities for our suppliers, provide a broader assortment for our customers and create new prospects for our associates over the long term." 

"The combination of UNFI and SUPERVALU provides a substantial premium and delivers certainty of value to our stockholders, meaningful benefits to our customers, expanded opportunities for our employees and the ability for us and our vendors to efficiently serve a varied customer base," says Mark Gross, chief executive officer of SUPERVALU. "We have been executing an ambitious strategic transformation for over two years. We believe that this transaction is the best and natural next step for our stockholders, customers and employees. I am very proud of the unwavering commitment and focus of our employees in driving our strategic transformation and serving our customers. I am confident that, together, SUPERVALU and UNFI will be well positioned to succeed – and to help our customers succeed – in today's grocery landscape."

Benefits of the acquisition include:

  • Diversifies customer base. The transaction will greatly expand UNFI's customer base and exposure across channels, including those where demand for "better for you" products is increasing and UNFI is under-represented. It will also unlock new opportunities through a comprehensive product portfolio.
  • Enables cross-selling opportunities. UNFI will benefit from its ability to deliver comprehensive and expanded offerings, including the addition of high-growth perimeter categories such as meat and produce to UNFI's natural and organic products.
  • Expands market reach and scale. The wider geographic reach and greater scale of the combined entity is expected to increase efficiencies and effectiveness.
  • Enhances technology, capacity and systems. The combined entity plans to leverage scalable systems to streamline its processes, more efficiently meet the needs of its customers and reduce future capital expenditures.
  • Delivers significant synergies. Through this combination, UNFI will be positioned to realize run rate cost synergies of more than $175 million by Year 3.
  • Accelerating growth. After Year 1, the transaction is projected to be accretive to Adjusted EPS in Year 1 with double-digit adjusted EPS growth after Year 1, excluding 1-time costs.

Spinner will lead the combined entity, while Sean Griffin, UNFI chief operating officer, will lead the SUPERVALU integration efforts, and lead an integration committee comprised of executives from both companies to drive the implementation of best practices from each company.