Spartan Stores' Strategic Review Ends with Status Quo

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- It sounds like Spartan Stores' board did not get an offer they couldn't refuse. The company said Friday it was putting a stop to its exploration of strategic alternatives for enhancing shareholder value, and would forget about pursuing a sale or acquisition.

Spartan's been exploring options since December 2004. During the ensuing nine months or so, with advice from investment bankers Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., its board and a governance committee comprised entirely of independent directors, Spartan's management team identified, explored, and evaluated various alternatives, including a potential sale and a potential acquisition in a contiguous market, the company said in a statement.

But it was to no avail. Late last week, Spartan's board of directors unanimously voted to stop the effort, and instead fully focus on existing strategies including pursuing retail and distribution sales and earnings growth through improved category management; new store construction and expansions; enhanced retail sales with new fuel centers and pharmacies; expanded distribution customer base; and pursuing opportunistic acquisitions of retail stores owned by existing distribution customers and other operators within its geographic markets.

Spartan's board did say it would keep its eyes and ears open to strategic opportunities should they be presented, based on existing and evolving market conditions.

More details will likely follow when the company fiscal 2006 second-quarter financial results will be released following the market close on Oct. 12, 2005.

The nation's tenth largest grocery distributor with warehouse facilities in Grand Rapids and Plymouth, Mich., Spartan Stores distributes more than 40,000 private-label and national brand products to more than 350 independent grocery stores in Michigan. It also owns 54 supermarkets and 19 deep-discount food and drug stores in Michigan and Ohio, operating under the banners Family Fare Supermarkets, Glen's Markets, and The Pharm.
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