Private equity firm to acquire The Fresh Market for $1.36B

by Eric Schroeder
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The Fresh Market grocery store, Apollo
The Fresh Market is a growing specialty grocery retailer with 186 stores in 27 states.

NEW YORK — Apollo Global Management, LLC has agreed to acquire The Fresh Market, Inc. for approximately $1.36 billion. Based in Greensboro, North Carolina, The Fresh Market is a growing specialty grocery retailer with 186 stores in 27 states across the United States. The company had net income of $63,025,000 and sales of $1,753,166,000 in fiscal 2014.

The $28.50 per share all-cash offer by the Apollo Funds represents a premium of approximately 24 percent over The Fresh Market’s closing share price on March 11 and a premium of approximately 53 percent over the Feb. 10 closing share price, the day prior to press speculation regarding a potential transaction.

The announcement follows an open and thorough review of strategic alternatives undertaken by the board of directors of The Fresh Market to maximize stockholder value.

Rick Anicette, The Fresh Market
Rick Anicetti, president and CEO of The Fresh Market

“We are excited about this transaction with Apollo, which recognizes the value of The Fresh Market’s strong brand and significant growth prospects while providing stockholders with an immediate and substantial premium,” said Rick Anicetti, president and CEO of The Fresh Market. “Apollo is a highly-regarded investor, bringing deep industry expertise and financial resources, and we look forward to working with them to build on our progress in achieving our strategic plan to deliver long-term profitable growth.”

Andrew S. Jhawar, senior partner and head of the retail and consumer group at Apollo, said the firm is “delighted” about the transaction. Jhawar said The Fresh Market was one of the early pioneers in small-box grocery, offering “unique, delicious and healthy food with a keen focus on perishables.”

Andrew Jhawar, Apollo
Andrew S. Jhawar, senior partner and head of the retail and consumer group at Apollo

“We believe there is a significant opportunity to enhance the brand, merchandise offering and price-value combination to make The Fresh Market a primary destination for food shoppers, while at the same time being committed to social responsibility through partnerships with local vendors and communities,” he said. “Our team at Apollo has had the tremendous fortune of having executed transactions in several consumables retailers and brands — such as Sprouts Farmers Market, Smart & Final, Hostess Brands and General Nutrition Centers, among others — that have undergone significant transformations under our strategic guidance, and we intend to bring that experience to bear at The Fresh Market. We look forward to partnering with Ray Berry, Brett Berry and George Golleher and beginning our discussions with the executive management team and the over 13,000 team members at The Fresh Market so that we can assist the company in delivering the most inspiring and engaging food shopping experience in the industry with best-in-class customer service.”

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2016.

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