Albertsons shares fall on NYSE debut after lackluster IPO

(Reuters) - Albertsons Cos Inc ACI.N saw its shares fall in its New York Stock Exchange debut on Friday, a day after the U.S. supermarket operator downsized its initial public offering to $800 million.

FILE PHOTO: Customers leave an Albertsons grocery store with their purchases in Burbank, California, U.S., July 17, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Shares in the Boise, Idaho-based company ended trading 3% below their $16 per share IPO price, at around $15.51.

It capped a disappointing stock market debut for Albertsons and its private equity owner, Cerberus Capital Management LP, which has been an investor in the company for 14 years and has been trying to take it public for five years.

Albertsons on Thursday sold 50 million shares in the IPO at $16 apiece, missing its target of 65.8 million and below a $18-$20 target price.

Cerberus senior executives held discussions late Thursday with Jamie Dimon, chief executive at JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N, one of Albertsons' IPO advisers, who advised them that $16 per share was as good a deal as they were likely to get in the current environment, according to a person familiar with the matter.

JPMorgan declined to comment. Cerberus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Albertsons listing ended the IPO market’s longest streak of a deal not pricing below a company’s targeted range since 2009, according to Renaissance Capital, which tracks IPOs.

“Things are so volatile in this market,” Albertsons Chief Executive Vivek Sankaran said in an interview.

“Our perspective was that we are in for the long term,” Sankaran added.

The COVID-19 pandemic gave a boost to Albertsons' revenue as consumers stocked up on food during lockdowns. However, rival supermarket chain Kroger Co KR.N has warned the surge in demand for essential goods it saw during the coronavirus outbreak was fading.

Reporting by C Nivedita and Joshua Franklin; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Tom Brown