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Albertsons Stalls Renewed IPO Plans After Amazon's Deal With Whole Foods

  • Grocer said to have discussed reviving listing plans this year
  • Company said to scramble for options as industry consolidates

Add Albertsons Cos. to the growing list of companies haunted by the specter of Amazon.com Inc.’s takeover of Whole Foods Market Inc.

Almost two years after the grocer postponed its initial public offering, Albertsons’ management and its private equity backers have put renewed plans for a listing on hold again, according to people familiar with the matter. Its own failed courtship with Whole Foods and Blue Apron Inc.’s weak IPO performance have further complicated options for a company already struggling with negative same-store sales amid a cutthroat grocery price war.

In the months before Amazon’s game-changing $13.7 billion takeover of Whole Foods was announced on June 16, Albertsons had been considering reviving its IPO plans and going public by the end of the year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. If the company had pursued that route, it was planning to relaunch with a narrower price range and go straight to investors that showed interest in the deal in 2015, the people said.

Albertsons has also continued to update its quarterly financial results in amended filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a sign industry watchers say indicates the company’s IPO plans may not be iced forever. The last filing was made on May 11.

For now, a near-term revival of Albertsons’ scuttled listing attempt is off the table, said the people. Slipping financials as well as the poor stock performance of its closest peer, Kroger Co., has left stakeholders convinced that the company won’t get close to the valuation of as much as $12.4 billion that it targeted in 2015, based on the number of shares outstanding after the offering, they said.

Albertsons is backed by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which first invested in the grocer in 2006 and has grown it through acquisitions, including a $9.2 billion...


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