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Publix Dismisses Harris Teeter Rumors

Publix Dismisses Harris Teeter Rumors

Lakeland, FL-
By Delimarket.TV Staff
Publix is rumored to have interest in acquiring Harris Teeter, but the likelihood of such an event is appearing to be less and less likely.
Representatives for Lakeland-based Super Markets Inc. continue to dismiss rumors that the company would consider purchasing Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter. Furthermore, one supermarket analyst said such a deal would be out of character for Publix, which has been known for its slow and steady approach to growth, according to TheLedger.
"They are just so conservative and so fiscally smart, I just don't see them taking that kind of risk," said David Livingston, a Wisconsin-based supermarket analyst and consultant.
Harris Teeter has multiple locations in states that are out of Publix's Southeastern U.S. operating area. Livingston says he doesn't think Publix would want to absorb a large number of workers who are unfamiliar with Publix culture - Harris Teeter has more than 25,000 employees.
"That's just so many employees to convert to their philosophy," said Livingston, of DJL Research. "It's like converting Baptists to Catholics."
More importantly, Livingston said Publix has never been one to make overly risky moves or buy out large competitors. The North Carolina expansion is Publix's first push into a new state since the grocer expanded to Tennessee in 2002. To date, Publix has just 34 stores in Tennessee.
Officials with Harris Teeter recently confirmed that the 208-store chain will consider offers from potential buyers. With a market value of over $2 billion, and the company should receive first-round bids by mid-March or later, according to Bloomberg.
A February report from Reuters said large grocery chains, such as Publix and Kroger, would likely consider purchasing Harris Teeter, but Publix representatives brushed off that idea.
Analysts have also noted Dutch retailer Royal Ahold NV as a likely buyer for Harris Teeter, given the company's desire to expand into southern U.S. markets.
An Ahold spokewoman declined to comment on the rumors.

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