After months-long speculation, Randalls has new ownership that will see it merge with a competing supermarket chain: Albertsons. Safeway, the parent company of Randalls and Tom Thumb, agreed to be acquired by Cerberus Capital Management, which owns the Albertsons chain.
The two grocery retailers will continue as is until the merger is completed later in 2014.
According to a March 6 release by Albertsons, the merger will create a network of more than 2,400 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 20 manufacturing plants with more than 250,000 employees. No store closures are anticipated. Albertsons CEO Bob Miller will become executive chairman, while Safeway's CEO Robert Edwards will become president and CEO.
Safeway is the second largest grocery chain in the country; Albertsons is the fifth largest.
The new uber-company will include Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Albertsons, ACME, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s, Star Market, Super Saver, United Supermarkets, Market Street (which Albertsons acquired in September 2013) and Amigos.
Randalls has 12 stores in Austin, including one in Round Rock.
Cerberus, a wheeling-and-dealing private equity firm, has behaved like an abusive parent to Albertsons since it acquired the chain in 2006. The stores have experienced a drastic decline in quality, selection and overall appeal.
And while they say there won't be closures, that would not fit with their history of slashing and burning stores. Three weeks ago, they shut down 26 stores around the country, the day before their fiscal year ended. That follows major closures that took place in 2006, 2011 and 2012.