Stockholders of Safeway Stores Inc. approved on Monday the $4.9-billion sale of the world's largest supermarket company to a newly formed private company called Safeway Stores Holding Corp.
The new company will be run by Safeway's current management. Its stock is controlled by the New York investment firm of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts as part of a buyout deal announced in July. KKR began purchasing Safeway stock this summer and, as of the completion of a tender offer Aug. 28, owned about 76% of the company's shares.
As part of the purchase, the new company has increased corporate debt to finance the purchase. The buyout swelled Safeway's debt to more $5.6 billion from $1.5 billion.
Safeway, founded in 1926, operates about 2,300 supermarkets, "super stores," discount Liquor Barn stores and other stores in the United States, Canada and Britain. About 70% of the stores are in the Western United States. The company has approximately 170,000 employees.