CINCINNATI – The Kroger Co. has closed the sale of the company’s convenience store business to EG Group, a privately held gas station and convenience store retailer in Blackburn, Lancashire, United Kingdom, for $2.15 billion.

Kroger said after-tax proceeds total $1.7 billion, of which $1.2 billion will be used to fund an accelerated share repurchase program. Kroger announced in October 2017 plans “…to explore strategic alternatives” for the company’s c-stores in conjunction with Restock Kroger. Kroger and EG Group announced a definitive agreement for the sale of the c-store business to EG Group in February.

“Throughout the sales process, we have been impressed with EG Group’s professionalism, commitment to people, and understanding of the US convenience retail market,” said Mike Schlotman, Kroger’s executive vice president and CFO. “I can’t stress enough how important to our success Kroger’s convenience store management and associates have been, and we want to thank them for all of their contributions to our customers and our company.”

The deal included 762 convenience stores, including 66 franchise operations, operating in 18 states and employing 11,000 workers under the banner names of: Turkey Hill, Loaf ‘N Jug, Kwik Shop, Tom Thumb and Quik Stop. Excluded from the sale were Kroger’s supermarket fuel centers and its Turkey Hill Dairy.

EG Group will establish their North American headquarters in Cincinnati and continue to operate stores under their established banner names. The company operates more than 2,600 stores across the UK, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy. EG Group will own and operate approximately 4,400 stores across Europe and the United States with the addition of the Kroger assets.

Kroger also entered an accelerated share repurchase program with Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC. Kroger will pay $1.2 billion to Goldman for approximately 36.1 million Kroger common shares. Kroger will use the balance of the after-tax proceeds to lower the company’s net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio.

“Kroger is committed to creating shareholder value,” Schlotman said. “We are returning a significant amount of capital to shareholders through a $1.2 billion accelerated share repurchase program authorized by our board of directors.”