The fact that the second largest grocery supermarket in the US, Safeway is considering being bought out by a potential company has sent its shares way up in the stratosphere. A number of buyout setups, which include foremost among them Cerberus Capital Management LP, are thinking through the consequences of wholly or partly buying Safeway. If Safeway gets sold, this could be the largest financial transaction since the economic crisis which hit the US and the rest of the world a few years back.
Meanwhile, spokespersons at Safeway refused to pass any remarks regarding the hoped for deal. Safeway has seen better days. Currently, it is facing the music from Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corporation. Safeway also narrowly avoided a takeover by Jana Partners by swallowing the proverbial poison pill.
The superstore has done all that lies in its power to maintain its image. It recently sold off its Chicago-based Dominick’s stores. Look further north and its Canadian setup got purchased by a party too (for $5.7 billion which is still in the process of being finalized).
Blackhawk, its prepaid card and presents unit went into action in March. At bottom, Safeway needs help. It is falling and it needs someone to save it from collapse. Whether Safeway will be able to pull itself up by its boot strings remains a moot point. The odds are against it though and a buyout may be in the pipeline.