Southeastern Grocers Eyes Public Stock Offering

Southeastern Grocers Eyes Public Stock Offering
Southeastern Grocers is exploring an initial public offering of its commonly held stock.

The food retailing world may have another publicly held company soon, if Southeastern Grocers follows through on plans for an initial public stock offering.

The company revealed late on Monday, Sept. 28 that it had confidentially submitted a draft registration statement on form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a potential initial public offering (IPO) of its common stock.

The filing itself doesn’t guarantee that Southeastern Grocers will pursue the publicly held option, but in a statement, the company said the move “will help enable [it] to make the decision to become publicly traded, subject to market and other conditions.”

The shares in the proposed offering are expected to be sold by existing stockholders of the company and likely won’t generate proceeds for Southeastern Grocers. The confidential filing process is a way for companies to gauge investor interest without publicly revealing extensive operational details and financial results until such time as the decision is made to move forward with an IPO and price shares.

The filing follows a major move in June that saw Southeastern Grocers, parent company of Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie stores, enter into a series of transactions designed to support growth of the company’s core banners. For example, the company made the strategic decision to no longer operate stores under the Bi-Lo banner to allow for greater investment in growing the Fresco y Más, Harveys and Winn-Dixie brands.

To accomplish that goal, Southeastern Grocers reached an agreement to sell 62 stores, including 46 Bi-Lo and 16 Harveys Supermarkets, to Salisbury, North Carolina-based Food Lion, a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize USA. In addition, the company divested the assets of 57 of the in-store pharmacies it operates under the Bi-Lo and Harveys banners to CVS and Walgreens. Then, earlier this month, the grocer sold off 23 more Bi-Lo stores.

Jacksonville, Florida-based Southeastern Grocers is one of the largest conventional supermarket companies in the United States, with grocery stores, liquor stores and in-store pharmacies serving communities throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. The company is No. 34 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walgreens, CVS and Ahold Delhaize USA are Nos. 4, 6 and 11 on PG's list.

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