Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sprouts Farmers Market's Acquisition of Henry's to Be Announced This Week, As Early As Wednesday

The Insider - Heard on the Street

The end-game is near

Representatives of Phoenix, Arizona-based Sprouts Farmers Market and Smart & Final-owned Henry's Farmers Market, which is headquartered in Irvine, California, are set to announce they've reached a deal in which Sprouts will acquire the Henry's chain outright or in some form of an acquisition/merger-type deal, my sources tell me.

The announcement is likely to come tomorrow, Wednesday, February 16, but if not no later than the end of this week, according to my sources.

Henry's Farmers Market, which has 46 stores in California and Texas (36 Henry's banner units in California and 10 Sun Harvest banner markets in Texas), is part of City of Commerce, California-based Smart & Final. Smart & Final, and thus Henry's, is owned by private equity firm Apollo Global Management.

Sprouts Farmers Market is privately held. It has 55 stores in Arizona, Colorado, California and Texas.

The two chains operate stores with nearly identical farmers' market-style formats and stores, featuring mostly natural and organic perishable and packaged food and grocery products, with an emphasis on fresh produce. Both chain's stores, which average 20,000 -to- 30,000 square-feet, also offer fresh meats, fresh-prepared foods, non-foods, nutritional supplements and more.

Henry's was founded in Southern California by the late Henry Boney. Members of Boney's family are the founders and principle owners of Sprouts Farmers Market. [See the stories linked at the end of this column for details about both chains.]

Related to the planned announcement, I also learned earlier today, from a source in a very good position to know, that a representative for Sprouts Farmers Market was "urgently" looking for a nice hotel or resort in Scottsdale, Arizona (next door to Phoenix) with a space or room suitable for a high-profile announcement and media interview.

I broke the story on the Sprouts-Henry's deal talks in my January 5, 2011 column, which spokespersons for both chains have since confirmed in Fresh & Easy Buzz and to a couple other publications, and have reported that the talks have been continuing between the two parties since then, in a series of columns. [ See the links at the bottom of this column.]

My sources say an acquisition deal has now been done.

The announcement should come tomorrow. But if not tomorrow, no later than the end of this week.

Stay tuned.

[Editor's Note: 'The Insider' column appears regularly in Fresh & Easy Buzz. The opinions in the columns are those of 'The Insider,' and not necessarily shared by Fresh & Easy Buzz.]

The Sprouts-Henry's deal talks: Follow the story at the links below

January 5, 2011: 'The Insider' - Will 2011 See Sprouts Farmers Market Acquiring Henry's Farmers Market? 'The Insider' Says it Could Be in The Cards

January 7, 2011: 'The Insider' - Sprouts Farmers Market-Henry's Farmers Market Deal Negotiations Continue; End-Game Could Be Near

January 8, 2011: Smart & Final-Henry's Tell Employees About Deal Discussions With Sprouts Farmers Market; Confirming 'The Insider's' Reports

January 10, 2011: Sprouts Farmers Market to Open Second Northern California Store in Roseville No Later Than Mid-April

January 11, 2011: 'The Insider' - A 'New York State of Mind': 'The Insider' On Walmart, Apollo Global Management, Tesco's Fresh & Easy and the NRF in New York City

January 24, 2011: 'The Insider' - End-Game Could Be Near in the Sprouts Farmers Market-Henry's Farmers Market Deal Talks

January 30, 2011: 'The Insider' - The Sprouts & Henry's Deal Talks: Smart & Final is Looking Like A Retailer That Wants to Make A Deal

February 4, 2011: The UFCW Union Becomes A Player in the Sprouts-Henry's Acquisition Talks...As the Two Chains Move Closer to A Deal

December 11, 2010: Smart & Final's Not So Marvelous SmartCo Foods' Misadventure in Denver

November 17, 2010: Smart & Final Pulls the Plug On All Five SmartCo Foods Stores in Metro Denver After Being Open Less Than Five Months

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