Supervalu's stock rises as deal said to be imminent

  • Article by: MIKE HUGHLETT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 4, 2013 - 8:04 PM

Speculation centers on N.Y. private equity group Cerberus Capital.

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Supervalu, based in Eden Prairie, put itself up for sale in whole or in parts last July. Reports indicate that Cerberus might buy some of the chain’s assets.

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Supervalu Inc.'s stock soared almost 14 percent late Friday on renewed speculation that a deal is at hand for the embattled supermarket chain.

Dow Jones and Bloomberg News reported that Supervalu is near a transaction in which Cerberus Capital Management would buy some of its assets, as well as become a shareholder in the company, which would remain publicly traded. Both news services cited unnamed sources.

Supervalu's stock closed at $2.94, up 35 cents.

Eden Prairie-based Supervalu, which owns Cub Foods, put itself up for sale in whole or in parts last July. Since October, speculation has been rife about a deal with Cerberus.

At first, reports centered on Cerberus, a New York private equity group, buying all of Supervalu, which has 11 grocery chains and a major food wholesaling business.

More recently, speculation has centered on the sale of some of Supervalu's largest chains -- namely Albertsons and Save-A-Lot -- to Cerberus. Other grocery chains also reportedly have been interested in buying some of Supervalu's assets.

Both Dow Jones and Bloomberg reported Friday that Cerberus would put $500 million into Supervalu, getting some assets and some equity. Supervalu declined to comment on that assertion.

"The review of strategic alternatives is proceeding, and the company continues to be in discussion with several parties," said Mike Siemienas, a Supervalu spokesman.

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