The company that owns the Food Lion and Bloom grocery store chains is looking for a bigger presence in North Carolina.
Delhaize Group, which is based in Brussels, Belgium, today announced a tentative agreement to buy "a substantial majority" of the assets of bankrupt grocer Bi-Lo for $425 million cash.
Company spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown said she could not elaborate on which assets are part of the deal or on what will happen to those assets once the deal is closed. However, the statement released today did offer some insight into what might happen to the acquired property: "It is the intent of Delhaize Group to integrate the included Bi-Lo assets in the network of its wholly owned subsidiary Food Lion."
Bi-Lo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 23. It operates 214 stores in the Carolinas, Tennesee and Georgia. In North Carolina, its stores are mostly in the western part of the state. There are none in the Triangle. The Mauldin, S.C. chain employs 15,500 people. According to today's release, the assets are estimated to have had $2 billion in sales in 2008.
The deal is still subject to approval by the bankruptcy court. But Delhaize Group said it expects the deal to close shortly.