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Safeway's Deadline for Vons Approaches

November 12, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Los Angeles-based Vons Cos. is expected to agree soon to merge with Safeway Inc., creating the nation's second-largest supermarket chain, although some analysts still believe a higher bid is possible. "The offer might be improved slightly, but it would surprise me if Vons rejected Safeway's bid and the deal got hostile," one analyst said. Oakland-based Safeway already owns a third of Vons' stock, and the two firms share directors. Safeway has offered to issue 1.34 shares for each Vons share it does not already own. "We would appreciate hearing from you within two weeks regarding your willingness to negotiate terms of the proposal," Safeway said in the Oct. 30 letter to the Vons board. Vons has declined to comment since its statement that a board of outside directors would study the offer. Safeway's stock rose 12.5 cents to $42.375 and Vons gained 12.5 cents to $54.625 on the NYSE.

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