Ahold Delhaize and Centerbridge Partners have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire online grocery retailer FreshDirect. The supermarket retailer will acquire an 80% stake funded by cash on hand, while Centerbridge will be a minority equity investor with a 20% stake. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
After the acquisition closes, FreshDirect will retain its brand name, report to a seven-person board and continue to independently operate out of its facility in New York City. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2021, following the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory clearance.
The deal gives Ahold Delhaize access to a fulfillment center and additional ecommerce capabilities, including same-day and rush delivery in New York City. Additionally, FreshDirect’s expertise regarding the delivery of fresh items could benefit Ahold Delhaize’s online offerings across the U.S.
“FreshDirect is a leading local brand in the fast-growing online grocery sector in the New York City metro area, one of the most important ecommerce food markets in the U.S.,” said Frans Muller, CEO of Ahold Delhaize in a statement. “With its unparalleled quality of fresh food, exceptional brand recognition and dedicated people, it has generated remarkable customer loyalty. This acquisition further propels our omnichannel evolution. It is a great addition and fit for our portfolio of leading local brands.”
Ahold Delhaize also has made other moves in 2020 to adapt to the rapidly changing grocery space:
- Putting an emphasis on agility, worker safety and a bottom-up approach to “collective intelligence” to keep its supply chain moving during the height of the pandemic-induced pantry runs;
- Launching a Stop & Shop-branded ecommerce platform to replace Peapod, for a more seamless omnichannel shopping experience; and
- Adopting proactive monitoring at three of its supermarket banners to detect and respond to IT problems before they affect shoppers.