New York and Zaandam, Netherlands – November 18, 2020 – Ahold Delhaize and Centerbridge Partners announce today that they have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire FreshDirect, a New York-based online grocery store. Ahold Delhaize will acquire the majority stake, funded by cash, and Centerbridge Partners will be a minority equity investor with a 20% stake. Once the transaction is completed, FreshDirect will retain its brand name, report to a seven-person board of directors and continue to operate independently from its New York facility. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, after the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory clearance.
Frans Muller, CEO of Ahold Delhaizes, said FreshDirect is a leading local brand in the fast growing online grocery industry in the New York metro area, one of the most important food markets for e-commerce in the USA. With its unmatched quality of fresh produce, exceptional brand recognition and dedicated staff, it has generated remarkable customer loyalty. This acquisition further propels our omnichannel evolution. It’s a great addition and fits our portfolio of top local brands. The agreement allows us to reach additional customers in the New York shopping area and will therefore add additional sales to the business. It further enables us to respond to the growing preference of customers for convenient ways of shopping. Finally, we are delighted to have Centerbridge by our side in this endeavor and believe that our combined focus, expertise and scale will help us maximize the success of FreshDirect going forward.
FreshDirect is a leader in the US online grocery industry, with over 20 years of local market and customer experience. As the name suggests, the company focuses on fresh produce, which accounts for over 60% of its sales. It differentiates itself through direct and exclusive relationships with local farmers, coupled with unique capabilities of meal solutions. The company’s efficient supply chain enables faster, more direct delivery of fresh food than most other conventional grocery stores, providing an even better freshness experience for customers. FreshDirect also brings with it a highly scalable, state-of-the-art distribution center located in the Bronx, New York. Finally, its e-commerce platform allows customers to place the order, from picking to packaging, to last mile delivery, including the ability to provide same-day and urgent delivery.
David McInerney, President and CEO of FreshDirects, said: We firmly believe that the future of grocery retailing is about providing customers with the best quality food, exactly when they want it, with the best customer service. We have built FreshDirect into a reliable and recognizable company to serve this purpose. This transaction marks an important step in the continued growth of FreshDirect. I believe that Ahold Delhaizes on a global scale, is focused on strong and leading local brands and its ability to utilize cost of goods synergies will allow FreshDirect to realize its full potential.
Adam Burinescu, Senior Managing Director of Centerbridge, said: We are delighted to partner with Ahold Delhaize, a leading player in global food retailing and believe this is an exceptional combination. As a partner, we believe Centerbridge brings in-depth experience in the interplay between logistics facilities and e-commerce execution that can help FreshDirect reach its next level of growth.
BofA Securities, Inc. is acting as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as legal advisor to Ahold Delhaize. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is acting as financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP is acting as legal advisor to FreshDirect. Fried Frank is acting as legal counsel to Centerbridge.
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About Ahold Delhaize
Ahold Delhaize is one of the world’s largest food distribution groups and a leader in supermarkets and e-commerce. Its family of top local brands serve 54 million customers every week in Europe, the United States and Indonesia. Together, these brands employ more than 380,000 associates in 6,967 grocery and specialty stores and include the leading online retailer in the Benelux and the leading online grocers in the Benelux and the United States. The Ahold Delhaize brands are at the forefront of sustainable retail, sourcing responsibly, supporting local communities and helping customers make healthier choices. Based in Zaandam, the Netherlands, Ahold Delhaize is listed on the Euronext Amsterdam and Brussels stock exchanges (symbol: AD) and its American Depositary Receipts are traded on the over-the-counter market in the United States and listed on the OTCQX International market (ticker: ADRNY). For more information, please visit www.aholddelhaize.com.
FreshDirect is a leading online fresh food grocer, delivering direct to customers in seven states, including metropolitan areas of New York and Philadelphia, as well as the District of Columbia. FreshDirect is committed to sourcing the freshest and tastiest meat, fish, produce and specialty products through direct relationships with suppliers, producers and farmers. Launched in 2002, FreshDirect is a privately held company headquartered in the Bronx, NY. FreshDirect’s main long-term investors are Brightwood Capital Advisors, Maverick Capital and W Capital Partners. For more information visit www.freshdirect.com.
About Centerbridge Partners
Centerbridge Partners, LP is a private equity management firm that uses a flexible approach across all investment disciplines, from private equity to credit and related strategies, and real estate with the goal of finding the best opportunities. attractive to our investors and business partners. The firm was founded in 2005 and, as of June 30, 2020, has approximately $ 26 billion in capital under management with offices in New York and London. Centerbridge is dedicated to building partnerships with world-class management teams in targeted industry sectors and geographies to help companies achieve their operational and financial goals. For more information, please visit www.centerbridge.com.
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