Supervalu Major Bidder for 79 Winn-Dixie Stores

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Supervalu, Inc. has surfaced as the major bidder for 79 Winn-Dixie stores in the Southeast, according to documents Winn-Dixie filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Friday. Other major bidders include C&S/Bi-Lo and Harris Teeter.

Winn-Dixie is seeking authorization to sell 79 stores to 20 potential buyers, all of which intend to operate the stores on an ongoing basis. The majority of the stores -- 33 -- are located in Georgia. Of the other stores, 12 are in North Carolina, 10 in Mississippi, nine in South Carolina, seven in Alabama, five in Florida, and three in Tennessee. They include the low-price SaveRite banner, as well as Winn-Dixie Marketplace and Winn-Dixie stores.

Winn-Dixie said its agreements are preliminary and subject to higher and better offers that may be received at an auction to be held July 18-19, 2005. Agreements include a provision related to hiring Winn-Dixie associates.

Minneapolis-based distributor and retailer Supervalu has offered $9.5 million for 37 Winn-Dixie stores, making it the largest single bidder for a group of stores. Supervalu operates more than 1,500 stores in 41 states. Nine of its independent retail customers are included in the bid. Supervalu was unavailable for comment today.

Other major bidders for Winn-Dixie stores include C&S/Bi-Lo, which is offering $9 million for 20 stores; and Harris Teeter, Inc., which is offering various prices for nine stores. Alima Corp. and Reynolds IGA, Inc. bid for three stores each; Calhoun Enterprises, Inc. bid for two stores; and Baker Foods, Inc., Florida Fine Wine and Spirits, LLC, MOMO Management Company, Inc., OGA's Enterprises, Inc., Reynolds IGA, Inc., and Tom-Tom Foods, Inc. each bid for one store.

The aggregate purchase price in the preliminary agreements for leases and equipment at the 79 stores is approximately $38.7 million. This amount does not include inventory to be purchased and is subject to change due to the outcome of the auction.

Winn-Dixie noted that its marketing effort is ongoing and that it is continuing to work to identify potential buyers, particularly for those stores for which there is currently no sale agreement. Parties interested in purchasing these stores should contact Ramesh Chakrapani with The Blackstone Group, at (212) 583-5066; Matthew Morris with The Food Partners, at (202) 579-0434; or Emilio Amendola with DJM Asset Management, at (631) 752-1100.

Winn-Dixie is also seeking court authorization to conduct store-closing sales at locations that it is unable to sell at the auction. Subject to court approval, the retailer anticipates that these sales would begin on or about Aug. 1, 2005 and be completed in early to mid-September.
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