BI-LO LLC and Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. have agreed to merge and create a supermarket chain of about 690 stores in eight states throughout the Southeast.

BI-LO, Winn-Dixie Stores, supermarket chain, merger, Southeast, Randall Onstead, Peter Lynch, in-store pharmacies

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BI-LO, Winn-Dixie plan to merge

December 19th, 2011

GREENVILLE, S.C. – BI-LO LLC and Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. have agreed to merge and create a supermarket chain of about 690 stores in eight states throughout the Southeast.

Under the merger deal announced Monday, BI-LO is acquiring all outstanding shares of Winn-Dixie stock for about $560 million. Winn-Dixie shareholders will receive $9.50 in cash per share of common stock, representing a premium of approximately 75% over the closing price of common stock on December 16.

A committee of the Winn-Dixie board negotiated the transaction and recommended it to the full board, which unanimously approved the agreement. The transaction, which will make Winn-Dixie part of a private company, is expected to close in the next 60 to 120 days, subject to approval from Winn-Dixie shareholders and other customary closing conditions.

“With no overlap in our markets, the combined company will have a perfect geographic fit that will create a stronger platform to provide customers great products at a great value while continuing to offer exceptional service,’’ BI-LO chairman Randall Onstead said in a statement. “BI-LO and Winn-Dixie are strong regional brands with similar heritages, compelling customer connections and outstanding employees.’’

The combined company will have approximately 63,000 employees.

“This transaction with BI-LO provides Winn-Dixie shareholders with a significant cash premium for their shares,” stated Peter Lynch, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Winn-Dixie. “We believe this transaction is in the best interests of our shareholders. By combining BI-LO and Winn-Dixie, we anticipate building a company that is stronger than our individual businesses and creating opportunities for continued advancement through the cross-pollination of our people and the sharing of ideas across our organizations.’’

Following completion of the merger, the companies are expected to continue to operate under the BI-LO and Winn-Dixie banners.

Executives say they do not currently expect any store closures as a result of the combination. A combined executive management team structure and headquarters location will be determined as the transaction approaches finalization, but the combined company is expected to maintain a presence in both Greenville, S.C., where BI-LO is based and in Jacksonville, Fla., where Winn-Dixie is based.

BI-LO currently operates 207 supermarkets, including approximately 116 in-store pharmacies, in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, and employs approximately 17,000 people. Winn-Dixie operates about 480 supermarkets, including 380 in-store pharmacies, in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi, and employs approximately 46,000 people.