United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) made headlines this week after filing a multi-count lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York against one of the nation's preeminent financiers, Goldman Sachs. The wholesaler is taking Goldman Sachs and its subsidiaries to court to recover damages and recoup "ill-gotten gains" stemming from improper conduct regarding the $2.9 billion acquisition of SuperValu.
"We feel we have an obligation to hold Goldman Sachs and others accountable for the ways in which they materially harmed UNFI and its shareholders in arranging the financing and managing related activities for our acquisition of SuperValu,” said Steve Spinner, UNFI's Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. “We expected our extremely well-paid transaction advisors to provide ethical counsel and unbiased support around this landmark acquisition—not leverage their positions to pursue larger profits for themselves and other clients at our expense and ongoing damage. UNFI is completely committed to the SuperValu combination and firmly believes in its many benefits and synergies, as we have repeatedly exhibited, but we are also determined to pursue our claims against the defendants for their unlawful acts surrounding the deal.”
According to a press release, the named defendants in UNFI’s complaint include Goldman Sachs and its principal executive overseeing the SuperValu transaction, as well as Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated. UNFI filed similar claims separately against U.S. Bank for its collusive action, led by Goldman Sachs, in these matters.
“We believe a review of the case’s details and facts shows that when the defendants had to choose between UNFI’s best interests and their own profits, they opted to put their financial motives first,” Jill Sutton, UNFI’s Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel added. “They sought to do this while blatantly breaching their agreements and, on information and belief, manipulating UNFI’s lending group in the process, which came to maintain interests that diverge from our interests. Rather than respect its contractual obligations and the law, we believe Goldman Sachs played by its own set of rules both when dealing with us and CDS market participants, for its own benefit.”
UNFI’s complaint breaks the defendants’ misconduct into four main counts:
To read UNFI's complete breakdown of the lawsuit, view the press release in its entirety here.
Stay tuned to Deli Market News as we continue to closely watch for any forthcoming developments.