Today the T.O. Acorn broke the news that Gelson's and Smart & Final are looking at buying vacated Haggen grocery stores in the Conejo Valley.
In a press release today from Haggen, they announced that motions have been filed with bankruptcy court to present bidding procedures for stores that are closing and to receive approval for two "stalking horse" asset purchase agreements.
The Gelson's Markets asset purchase agreement is for 8 stores, including Thousand Oaks (Avenida De Los Arboles) locally as well as Carlsbad, Del Mar, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, La Jolla, Rancho Mirage and Santa Monica.
The Smart & Final LLC asset purchase agreement is for 28 stores, including Newbury Park, Simi Valley (Los Angeles Avenue), Ventura (Telegraph Road) and Westlake Village (Lindero Canyon Rd) as well as stores in Atascadero, Carlsbad, Carpinteria, Chino Hills, Chula Vista, Corona Del Mar, Coronado, El Cajon (2), La Mesa, Palmdale, Paso Robles, Redondo Beach, San Diego (2), San Luis Obispo, San Pedro, San Ysidro, Santa Barbara, Santee, Torrance, Trabuco Canyon, Yorba Linda and Las Vegas.
These agreements are subject to bankruptcy court approval.
Also, according to a Gelson's press release today, "The bid is subject to higher and better offers at an auction currently scheduled for the beginning of November. Should our bid prove successful, it will be a benefit for thousands of shoppers who value quality products and exceptional service. Furthermore, we would welcome the opportunity to have Haggen store employees join the Gelson’s family, and foresee growth opportunities for our associates.”
The Smart & Final press release issued today gives more detailed information, perhaps because it is a publicly traded company (Stock Symbol: SFS). They indicate the agreement to acquire 28 store leases and related assets is for a cash price of $56 million, subject to certain adjustments. As a "Stalking Horse Bidder" in advance of a proposed auction next month, it is possible that higher bids be made and approved by other bidders.
Smart & Final indicates if the deal does close, the conversion process will start this fiscal quarter and will be completed by the end of of June 2016. The stores will be converted to its Smart & Final Extra! store format. Smart & Final currently operates 270 grocery and foodservice stores in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 16 stores in northern Mexico through a joint venture.