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Albertsons Poised to Buy Price Chopper: Report

Albertsons Cos. Inc. is said to be in “advanced talks” to acquire the 130-store Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper for about $1 billion.

Both Albertsons and Price Chopper – whose grocery stores are located in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts and which has been owned by the Golub family since its founding – declined to comment on the speculative acquisition, with Price Chopper referring to published report as “rumors.”

A Reuters report notes that the deal would be in keeping with the tendency toward consolidation in the U.S. grocery industry, including such well-publicized deals as the Ahold-Delhaize merger this past summer, as regional chains struggle to hold their own against online retailers, mass merchandisers and deep discounters. Such pressures may have induced Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper to explore a sale.In January 2016, Scott Grimmett become the first non-family member to helm Golub Corp. as CEO. The former Safeway executive, who worked for 37 years at the Pleasanton, Calif.-based chain that has since merged with Price Chopper's would-be new owner, Albertsons, formerly was president of several company divisions, the last of which was Safeway’s Denver division, consisting of 141 stores across a five-state operating area.

The pending deal between Albertsons and Price Chopper follows reports earlier this year that the regional grocery chain was on the block. While Price Chopper's VP of Public Relations and Consumer Services Mona Golub told Progressive Grocer in August that the grocer doesn't "respond to rumor or innuendo," she confirmed that “relative to the tremendous customer response to our new Market 32 stores, we formed a new board finance committee to explore capital partnerships to accelerate the conversion of Price Chopper stores to the new Market 32 banner.”

Golub further noted that family-owned Golub Corp., Price Chopper’s parent, was continuing with its strategy laid out last January: On hiring Grimmett, Chairman Neil Golub said that the company would move ahead with the design, branding and marketing investments it had made in launching the Market 32 banner, as it modernized its store base under the new banner.

Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, controlled by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP and operating more than 2,200 supermarkets, is the second-largest U.S. grocery chain, after Kroger. In 2015, Albertsons merged with Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway, expanding its presence in the central and western United States. Its banners include Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Tom Thumb and United Supermarkets.

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