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John Clougher, Bill Shaner to Lead Haggen as CEOs

In conjunction with the big news that Bellingham, Wash.-based Haggen will acquire 146 stores from Albertson's LLC and Safeway, the Pacific Northwest grocer will be co-led by CEOs John Clougher and supermarket industry veteran Bill Shaner.

Clougher – who was named CEO of Haggen in early September after serving as CEO of Andronico's Markets in northern California and prior to that, president of Whole Foods Markets' Northwest – will have responsibility for Haggen's Washington and Oregon northern division, while Shaner – former Save-A-Lot Food Stores president/CEO – will lead the company's Pacific Southwest division, inclusive of California, Nevada and Arizona.

Haggen's 146-store acquisition is part of the divestment process brought about by the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) review of the pending Albertson’s LLC and Safeway merger, which will dramatically expand from 18 stores and 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies; from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 employees; and from a Pacific Northwest company with locations in Oregon and Washington to a major regional grocery chain with locations in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona.

“With this pivotal acquisition, we will have the opportunity to introduce many more customers to the Haggen experience," said John Caple, chairman of the Haggen board and partner at Comvest Partners, a private investment firm that owns the majority of shares of Haggen. "Our Pacific Northwest grocery store chain has been committed to local sourcing, investing in the communities we serve, and providing genuine service and homemade quality since it was founded in 1933. We will continue our focus on sourcing and investing locally even with this exciting expansion.”

After the close of the transaction in early 2015, Haggen will convert all of the acquired Albertsons and Safeway stores to the Haggen banner in phases during the first half of 2015. All Albertson's LLC and Safeway store employees will have the opportunity to become employees of Haggen as their individual stores are transitioned to the Haggen banner. Haggen plans to retain the current store management teams.

“We warmly welcome these new employees and stores into the Haggen family," said Clougher. "The stores are well run and very successful, thanks to the dedicated store teams. We want to retain these existing teams while allowing our growing company to build on their past successes. We plan to adopt the best practices of our new stores to offer a superior shopping experience for our valued customers in all of our stores.”

“We committed to this acquisition because we knew we had the experience, talent and drive to get it done,” added Caple. “The strength of our management and store support teams, combined with the talent of the store teams at each of the new store locations, will enable Haggen to be a successful West Coast grocer.”

Sagent Advisors, LLC and Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, LP acted as financial advisors to Haggen on the transaction. Akerman Senterfitt LLP acted as legal advisor.

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