In a major move of Southeastern expansion, fast-growth and low-cost grocer Aldi says it will acquire Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket as part of parent company Southeastern Grocers' divestiture plans.
Aldi, in a statement, says it is "doubling-down on expansion plans." The acquisition includes approximately 400 Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket locations across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, Aldi says. Southeastern Grocers is based in Jacksonville.
"The time was right to build on our growth momentum and help residents in the Southeast save on their grocery bills," Aldi CEO Jason Hart says in the statement. "The transaction supports our long-term growth strategy across the United States, including plans to add 120 new stores nationwide this year to reach a total of more than 2,400 stores by year-end."
There are at least 50 Winn-Dixie and Harveys locations in the region, from Polk through Collier counties. In total, Southeastern Grocers operates more than 320 Winn-Dixie, Harveys Supermarket and Fresco y Más stores in Florida, a company official told the Business Observer.
Aldi officials say the acquisition will "bring together three trusted brands that share a long-standing commitment to delivering an exceptional grocery experience and making a positive impact in the communities where they operate."
Aldi first established its presence in the Southeast in the mid-1990s and since has invested $2.5 billion in the region, the company says.
Most recently, Aldi opened its 26th regional headquarters and distribution center in Loxley, Alabama, to help support new stores, with plans to open 20 new Aldi locations in the area by the end of the year.
Not all Winn-Dixie and Harveys will be converted to the Aldi format, and some will continue to bear the old names. More details about how many will convert were not provided by Aldi.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Deutsche Bank served as financial advisor to Aldi. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2024, subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, the company says.
Winn-Dixie traces its roots back to the 1920s when the Davis family opened a store in Miami and began expanding with other stores, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record, sister paper of the Business Observer.
The company established its headquarters in Jacksonville in 1944 and after a series of transactions, the company was named Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. in 1955.
Winn-Dixie struggled in the early 2000s and went through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 2005 and 2006.
Winn-Dixie merged with Bi-Lo Holdings in 2012 to form Southeastern Grocers.
Southeastern went through a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 2018, with a group of investment funds taking control of the company.
The company filed plans for an initial public offering in 2020 but pulled the IPO off the market in January 2021, and it has been the subject of buyout rumors since that time, the Jacksonville Daily Record reports.