Bi-Lo acquires Winn-Dixie, takes chain private

Greenville, S.C. -- Grocer Bi-Lo LLC said Monday that it has acquired southern supermarket chain Winn-Dixie, in a $560 million transaction that will take Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. private and create the largest grocery operator in the South.

The merger will combine Winn-Dixie’s 480 supermarkets in five southern states (Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi) with Bi-Lo’s 207 stores in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee to create a company with 690 stores and 63,000 workers in eight states.

The companies said Monday that no store closings are expected and the name Winn-Dixie will remain because of its strong brand recognition in the South.

"With no overlap in our markets, the combined company will have a perfect geographic fit that will create a stronger platform from which to provide our customers great products at a great value, while continuing to offer exceptional service," said Bi-Lo chairman Randall Onstead.

The deal is expected to close in the next 60 to 120 days. The companies said that details such as management structure and headquarters location haven’t been worked out yet but that they expect to maintain a presence in current corporate home bases of Greenville, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla.