Safeway announced it is in discussions concerning a possible transaction involving the sale of the company. Although the discussions are ongoing, the company has not reached an agreement on a transaction, and there can be no assurance that these discussions will lead to an agreement or a completed transaction. The company will not comment further on these discussions at this time.
Separately, the company has decided to distribute the remaining 37.8 million shares it owns of Blackhawk Network Holdings (approximately 72.2% of the outstanding Blackhawk shares) to Safeway stockholders. Currently, the plan is to make the distribution on a pro rata basis to all Safeway stockholders in a transaction intended to be tax-free to Safeway and its stockholders. However, if the company consummates a sale transaction, the distribution may be taxable. The timing and details of the proposed distribution will be determined in the near future, and further announcements will be made when those decisions have been finalized.
In addition, Safeway owns 49% of Casa Ley S.A. de C.V. (“Casa Ley”), the fifth largest food and general merchandise retailer in Mexico based on sales. Based on Casa Ley’s improving performance, the company believes it is an appropriate time to explore alternatives to monetize its investment in Casa Ley. While the company has discussed its desire to monetize its investment with the majority owners of Casa Ley, there can be no assurance as to whether the company will be able to sell its interest in Casa Ley at a price and on terms that the company finds acceptable.
“We are pleased with the progress we made in 2013,” said Robert Edwards, Safeway’s president and CEO. “Strategies to grow sales and improve operating profit dollars have begun to produce results. In 2013, we generated our best volume growth since 2006, and we had our best identical-store sales growth in the last five years. At the same time, we continue to pursue strategies to enhance momentum and increase shareholder value. We look forward to continuing progress in 2014.”