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What you need to know for 11/24/2017

Report: Albertsons in talks to buy Price Chopper

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Report: Albertsons in talks to buy Price Chopper

The Golub family on Wednesday downplayed rumors that Price Chopper could soon be sold to Albertsons.
Report: Albertsons in talks to buy Price Chopper
The Eastern Avenue Price Chopper Supermarket in Schenectady on Wednesday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

The Golub family on Wednesday downplayed rumors that Price Chopper could soon be sold to Albertsons Companies Inc.

“I don’t comment on stuff like that,” said Golub Corp. Chairman Neil Golub, after an event at miSci to honor the Golub family for years of generous contributions to the museum.

[Schenectady officials honor Golubs for miSci contributions]

The Golub Corp. is the parent company of the Price Chopper grocery chain. Albertsons, based in Boise, Idaho, operates grocery stores under many brands, including Safeway, in 33 states.

“When you see nonsense articles coming from halfway across the country, I’m not going to comment,” Golub added Wednesday.

According to a story published Tuesday by Reuters, Albertsons Companies Inc. is in advanced talks to acquire Price Chopper for around $1 billion. The story cited sources who asked not to be identified, and it noted the deal could still fall through.

Price Chopper is headquartered in Schenectady and operates about 130 stores across the Northeast. Company spokeswoman Mona Golub also would not talk about the Reuters story at Wednesday’s event.

“We don’t comment on rumors,” she said.

Neil Golub acknowledged that the Reuters story is not the first report to predict a sale of the company in recent years. Asked whether employees should be concerned about a possible sale, he said the company is still a major force in the region.

“They’ve heard rumors for a long time, and every time, I say to our people, ‘Hey, we’re a business. We’re going to be here today, we’re going to be here tomorrow, and whatever comes, whatever happens, happens,’” he said. “We’re going to go about doing our business; we’ll let other people do their business.”

The Golub Corp. laid off 47 employees in April at its Nott Street headquarters. Nearly 700 employees worked in the building following the layoffs.

In 2014, the company announced that Price Chopper stores would be rebranded gradually as “Market 32” stores in an effort to modernize and renovate them.

Golub Corp. CEO Scott Grimmett became the first non-Golub family member to hold that position when he took the post in January. Prior to joining the Golub Corp., he worked for nearly 40 years with Safeway, a grocery chain that is now owned by Albertsons.

A spokeswoman for Albertsons would not comment Wednesday on the rumored deal.

Albertsons was founded in 1939 and is owned by Cerberus Capital management and is one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States. It operates 2,200 grocery stores, though none in New York.

Albertsons has developed a reputation for acquiring other grocery brands, significantly bolstering its operations in recent years.

The company operated 1,075 stores in fiscal year 2013 and 192 stores in fiscal year 2012, according to a 2015 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That filing sought registration for an initial public offering of shares in the company, though that IPO has not happened.

In 2013, Albertsons closed a deal to acquire multiple brands from SuperValu, including Jewel-Osco, Acme Markets and Star markets. In 2015, Albertsons acquired Safeway.

Earlier in 2016, Albertsons acquired 29 Haggen brand stores in Washington and Oregon. Under that deal, 14 Haggen stores continued to operate under that name, while the rest transitioned to Albertsons locations.

The company’s IPO prospectus states that the firm intends to grow its store base through acquisitions.

“We believe that the acquisition and integration experience of our management team, together with the considerable transactional expertise of our equity sponsors, positions us well for future acquisitions as the food and drug retail industry continues to consolidate,” the company wrote.

Reach Gazette reporter Brett Samuels at 395-3113, bsamuels@dailygazette.net or @Brett_Samuels27 on Twitter.

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