Cerberus-Backed Albertsons Falls Short With $800 Million IPO
(Bloomberg) -- Albertsons Cos. is emerging from Cerberus Capital Management’s portfolio in a shrunken, below-range initial public offering raising only $800 million.
Certain stockholders sold 50 million shares for $16 each in the IPO on Thursday, Albertsons said in a statement. Private equity firm Cerberus and other backers of the supermarket chain had earlier offered 65.8 million shares for $18 to $20, which could have raised as much as $1.3 billion.
The IPO is the first in the U.S. to price below its marketed range since GFL Environmental Inc.’s $1.4 billion offering on March 3.
While the coronavirus pandemic has boosted the grocer’s business, the company had total debt of $8.7 billion as of its last fiscal year, according to its filings. That makes it more levered than U.S. supermarket rivals Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. and Grocery Outlet Holding Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Albertsons is going public after a failed attempt five years ago. In 2015, the company filed for a listing to raise as much as $1.7 billion before postponing and eventually withdrawing that plan. A multibillion-dollar merger with Rite Aid Corp. was scrapped in 2018 after opposition to the deal ahead of a shareholder vote, leaving Cerberus again searching for an exit.
For the year ended Feb. 29, Albertsons earned $466 million on revenue of more than $62 billion, compared with a loss of $502 million on revenue of $59 billion in fiscal 2015, according to its filings.
Albertsons’ business might have stabilized, but limited new store openings could make it difficult to keep growing revenue, and put rivals at an advantage, Bloomberg Intelligence’s senior analyst Jennifer Bartashus wrote in a report. It may also be difficult for Albertsons to gain market share as it trails key peers in e-commerce, Bartashus said.
Analysts at Jefferies predicted in March, as the Covid-19 pandemic kept people away from restaurants, that “frenzied food-at-home buying” could add $90 billion in revenue to the packaged food industry over three months. But many shoppers have been choosing online deliveries over trying to stay socially distant in the supermarket aisles. Instacart Inc.’s valuation, for example, hit $13.7 billion in a funding round after the popularity of the grocery delivery service exploded, up from the the $7.9 billion value it fetched in 2018.
New York-based Cerberus first invested in Albertsons in 2006 in a $17.4 billion acquisition alongside CS Corp. and Supervalu Inc., neither of which remain investors. Based on a larger IPO planned earlier, Cerberus’s stake was to be trimmed to 31% from 37% after the listing. Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons won’t receive any proceeds in this week’s share sale.
Apollo Global Management Inc. put in $1.75 billion in Albertsons in May through a preferred stock offering, equal to a 17.5% stake in the grocer after the conversion.
U.S. IPOs have snapped back in June after equity market volatility killed off deals in March and April. A total of $11.8 billion was raised from 29 listings this month alone, including a $2.5 billion offering from Royalty Pharma Plc and Warner Music Group Corp.’s $1.9 billion deal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. June is set to be the fifth busiest month for U.S. IPO in the past decade after Albertsons’ listing, the data show.
The IPO is being led by Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. The company’s shares are expected to begin trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ACI.
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