Winn-Dixie sold to Bi-Lo

Published 12:18 am Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The supermarket chain Winn-Dixie is being sold for $560 million to Bi-Lo, creating a large grocery operator in the South, the companies said Monday.

How-ever, local customers shouldn’t worry, said Chantz Robert-son, co-director of the Andalusia location.

“All the merger means is that we’re going to be a better, stronger store to take care of our customers’ needs,” Robertson said. “As a customer coming into the Andalusia store, one won’t notice any changes because of the merger.

“We’ll still operate under the Winn-Dixie banner. All (the business arrangement was) is a merger to make a stronger company,” he said.

As a result of the merger, each Winn-Dixie stockholder will receive $9.50 per share in cash, a 75 percent premium to the Jacksonville, Fla., company’s Friday closing stock price.

The combined company will have about 690 stores and 63,000 workers in eight states in the southern U.S. Winn-Dixie Stores will become a privately held subsidiary and its ticker will be removed from the Nasdaq.

Bi-Lo, based in Greenville, S.C., runs 207 supermarkets in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

Winn-Dixie runs about 480 grocery stores, including approximately 380 in-store pharmacies, in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi. It has about 46,000 employees.

Locally, the store employs 85, Robertson said.

The companies said that no store closings are expected and the name Winn-Dixie will remain because of its strong brand recognition in the South.