As Central Grocers moves through its recently-announced bankruptcy, a suitor has emerged as the company looks to sell off its Strack & Van Til chain. Jewel-Osco has made a bid for a large portion of the locations.
Jewel-Osco is pursuing the purchase with a $100 million bid, according to The Northwest Indiana Times. One of Chicago’s biggest local chains, Jewel-Osco would gain 19 stores from Strack & Van Til. Jewel-Osco, a subsidiary of Albertsons, is also known as Jewel Food Stores.
"Our two companies share a rich history of serving customers in the Midwest as well as core beliefs in working hard to serve customers and deliver value every day on the finest quality fresh foods and local products," stated Jewel-Osco Division President Doug Cygan in a statement according to the Daily Herald.
Earlier this month, Central Grocers announced it would be voluntarily filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Jewel-Osco has offered up $70 million for the locations, in addition to the roughly $30 million in inventory that would still be in the stores after the purchase went through. As of right now, Jewel-Osco plans to keep all purchased locations open after the buyout.
Jewel-Osco stated it was the initial bidder that Central Grocers chose to negotiate with before the auction of its banner. The auction was initially expected to begin on June 2, if the bankruptcy court had approved the procedures. However, this purchase bid will still need to go through the court supervised sale process.
Strack & Van Til will be closing another 14 stores in Illinois this year that Jewel-Osco did not put in a bid for. Another buyer could potentially buy out the stores in bankruptcy court if it files a better bid by a deadline of June 21.
If the purchase is approved, Jewel-Osco plans to keep most of the employees, in addition to keeping the stores open. This purchase will expand the Jewel-Osco footprint further into Indiana.
Strack & Van Til accounts for around half of Central Grocers’ $2 billion a year business, according to the company. Central Grocers is still seeking a buyer for its distribution center in Joliet.
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