Mariano's and its parent company, Roundy's, will be sold to Kroger Co., the Chicago Tribune reports.
The $800 million deal includes all 34 Mariano's locations around Chicago as well as Pick 'N Save stores dotted across southeastern Wisconsin. It also includes a hefty chunk of debt. Kroger will take on Roundy's $646 million in debt in exchange for new territory in the Midwest. Kroger's only presence here is Food 4 Less.
A possible result of the purchase could be even more Mariano's stores, maybe some the size of its most recent location at New City in Lincoln Park, the largest of the chain. Freed from the constraints of debt, Roundy's would be able to use the huge amount of capital and buying power Kroger has. Cincinnati-based Kroger operates more than 2,500 supermarkets in 34 states and posted more than $108 billion in sales last year. Kroger also owns nearly 800 convenience stores, more than 300 jewelry stores and sells products online at vitacost.com.
Roundy's CEO Bob Mariano has said he thinks the Chicago area could accommodate 50 Mariano's locations.
A deal this big should be familiar to Chicagoans. In 1998, Safeway purchased Dominick's—and we all know how that went. Both companies completely exited the city last year, Dominick's leaving behind 72 empty stores, of which Mariano's gobbled up more than 10. Incidentally, Roundy's CEO Bob Mariano was also CEO of Dominick's for two years prior to the Safeway purchase.
Roundy's is based in Wisconsin and was founded in Milwaukee in 1872. The company employs more than 22,000 people and operates more than 150 supermarkets in Illinois and Wisconsin.