"Combine and conquer" is the motto at BI-LO Holding. The parent company for the BI-LO and Winn-Dixie supermarket chains boasts about 690 stores across eight southeastern states. The BI-LO supermarket chain operates more than 200 BI-LO and Super BI-LO grocery stores in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee. Winn-Dixie operates about 485 combination food and drug stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi under the Winn-Dixie and Winn-Dixie Marketplace banners. BI-LO Holding was formed in 2012 when BI-LO's owner, Dallas-based Lone Star Holdings, acquired Winn-Dixie for about $560 million and merged the two companies. Lone Star has filed to take the merged company public.
The parent company of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie in September 2103 filed an initial public offering under the name Southeastern Grocers that seeks to raise up to $500 million. Southeastern Grocers will be the publicly-traded parent company of BI-LO, Winn-Dixie, and about 175 soon-to-be-acquired stores.
Florida is the company's largest market, home to nearly half of its 685 stores. South Carolina is home to about 125 supermarkets, followed by Alabama and Louisiana with 68 and 51 stores, respectively. The regional grocery chain also has stores in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
Combined Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo rang up $9.9 billion in sales in 2012, making BI-LO Holding one of the nation's top grocery store operators.
The strategy behind the merger of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie was to realize efficiencies from the combined operations of the two chains, although BI-LO and Winn-Dixie continue to operate under their own banners. However, functions, including supply chain, human resources, and store support, were combined. Now, Lone Star is seeking to acquire approximately 175 other supermarkets, primarily from Delhaize America, to grow its presence in the Southeast.
Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestments
In May 2013 the company agreed to acquire substantially all the stores in the Sweetbay, Harveys, and Reid's supermarket chains from Delhaize for $265 million in cash. The company anticipates closing the transaction in late 2013. As part of the acquisition deal, the company will add to its southeastern US holdings with 72 Sweetbay stores, leases for 10 prior Sweetbay locations, 72 Harveys stores, and 11 Reid's stores. (The Sweetbay stores will be converted to the Winn-Dixie banner, creating a more formidable rival to market leader Publix, which Winn-Dixie has long trailed.)
Also, it has struck a deal to purchase 21 Piggly Wiggly stores in South Carolina and Georgia. The chain is taking the opposite tack in North Carolina, where it sold seven of its supermarkets in the Charlotte area to Publix.
The March 2012 buyout of Winn-Dixie by Lone Star and its merger with BI-LO, joined two of the South's mainstay regional supermarket chains and expanded their scale with no geographic overlap. Post merger, BI-LO Holding moved its headquarters to Jacksonville, Florida, home of Winn-Dixie. Jacksonville is centrally located to serve BI-LO's eight-state operating area.