Kroger Company announced Tuesday morning that it will buy Harris Teeter Supermarkets in a $2.44 billion deal.
The announcement came five months after Matthews-based Harris Teeter, which has 212 grocery stores, hired J.P. Morgan to help the company explore sales options. Two private equity firms had expressed an interest in Harris Teeter, the grocer said at the time.
Kroger, based in Cincinnati, said Harris Teeter will maintain its headquarters in Matthews. However, the company also said it expects to generate $40 million to $50 million worth of annual savings by combining the two companies.
“Harris Teeter has a long track record of creating shareholder value, and this merger is the culmination of those efforts over many years,” Harris Teeter board chairman and CEO Thomas Dickson said in a statement.
Dickson said Harris Teeter will maintain much of its identity after the sale.
“We are excited about becoming part of the Kroger Company, one of the best food retailers in the U.S., while maintaining the Harris Teeter banner, our management teams, our new store growth plan, our distribution and manufacturing facilities in North Carolinas, as well as our headquarters in Matthews,” he said.
From the official corporate press release:
The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) and Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. (NYSE: HTSI) today announced a definitive merger agreement under which Kroger will purchase all outstanding shares of Harris Teeter for $49.38 per share in cash.
The transaction price represents a premium of 33.7% to the Harris Teeter closing share price on January 18, 2013, the day of the first media report that Harris Teeter was evaluating strategic alternatives. The terms of the agreement were approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies.
Harris Teeter brings to Kroger an exceptional brand and complementary base of 212 stores in attractive southeastern and mid-Atlantic markets and in Washington, D.C. The stores are located primarily in high-growth markets, vacation destinations and university communities in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia. Harris Teeter also operates distribution centers for grocery, frozen and perishable foods in Greensboro, NC and Indian Trail, NC and a dairy facility in High Point, NC. Harris Teeter had revenues of approximately $4.5 billion for fiscal year 2012.
“We are excited to welcome Harris Teeter to the Kroger family,” said David B. Dillon, Kroger’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Harris Teeter is an exceptional company with a great brand, friendly and talented associates, and attractive store formats in vibrant markets run by a first-class management team. They share our customer-centric approach to everything we do – from store format and merchandising to innovative loyalty programs. This is a financially and strategically compelling transaction and a unique opportunity for our shareholders and associates. We look forward to bringing together the best of Kroger and Harris Teeter while continuing to operate and grow the Harris Teeter brands. Together, we can continue to deepen our connections with customers across all of our markets.”