Kroger closes Harris Teeter acquisition

By Ashley Barker
abarker@scbiznews.com
Published Jan. 30, 2014

Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co., according to a news release.

The transaction was completed the same day that two Harris Teeter executives decided to leave the company.

Harris Teeter stores will continue to operate under the same brand name and will continue to be led by Harris Teeter’s current president, Fred Morganthall, Kroger said. The company, which has no plans to close any stores, will now operate 2,641 supermarkets and employ more than 368,000 people in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

W. Rodney McMullen, CEO of Cincinnati-based Kroger, said the merger brings together the best of Kroger and Harris Teeter to benefit customers, associates and shareholders.

“This merger brings the exceptional Harris Teeter brand and a complementary base of stores in attractive markets to the Kroger family. We have long respected Harris Teeter’s customer orientation, friendly and professional associates, strong management team and company values — which are consistent with ours,” McMullen said in a statement.

The supermarkets also said Thomas W. Dickson, chairman and CEO of Harris Teeter, will retire and John Woodlief, executive vice president, has resigned.

“The merger with Kroger provides the opportunity to continue to expand the Harris Teeter brand as well as to provide future employment and career advancement opportunities for our associates in an increasingly competitive market,” Dickson said in a statement. “The merger also is the culmination of a long track record of delivering substantial value to our shareholders.”

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Harris Teeter shareholders will receive $49.38 per share of Harris Teeter common stock, which stopped trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Harris Teeter will continue to carry Harris Teeter brands, and customers will still be able to use their customer discount cards. There are no plans to change the company’s coupon policy or Sub Club program, Harris Teeter said.

Kroger expects to achieve approximately $40 million to $50 million of cost savings within the next four years, the company said, mostly due to the benefits of Kroger’s enhanced scale.

Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter had revenues of $4.7 million for fiscal 2013, the news release said.

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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