NEW YORK, Nov 18 (Reuters) - The online grocer FreshDirect
agreed on Wednesday to be acquired by the supermarket operator
Ahold Delhaize NV and private equity firm Centerbridge
Partners LLC, as the coronavirus pandemic and growing acceptance
of e-commerce prompt more consumers to buy groceries online.
Ahold will take a majority stake and Centerbridge will own
20% of FreshDirect, which will keep its name and operate
independently. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and
a closing is expected in the first quarter of 2021.
Based in the Bronx, New York City, and known for its
green-and-orange trucks, FreshDirect specializes in fresh food,
which it says represents more than 60% of sales.
The privately-held company was founded in 2002 and operates
in seven U.S. states, including the New York City and
Philadelphia metropolitan areas, and Washington, D.C.
Ahold is based in the Netherlands and has several U.S.
brands, including Stop & Shop, Food Lion, Giant Food and
A recent study by e-commerce specialist Mercatus and the
research firm Incisiv said online purchases should account for
10.2% of this year's $1.04 trillion U.S. grocery market, triple
the percentage in 2019.
The study also said online purchases may command 21.5% of a
total $1.16 trillion grocery market in 2025, close to 60% above
Larger retailers, including Amazon.com Inc and
Walmart Inc, are also increasing online sales of
essentials such as food.
Goldman Sachs and the law firm Latham & Watkins advised
FreshDirect on the transaction. Bank of America and the law firm
Kirkland & Ellis advised Ahold, and the law firm Fried, Frank,
Harris, Shriver & Jacobson advised Centerbridge.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Aurora