January 7, 2016 / 8:20 PM / in 3 years

Supervalu's board approves spinning off Save-A-Lot

(Reuters) - Supervalu Inc’s SVU.N board approved a spinoff of its Save-A-Lot discount supermarket chain, paving the way for separating a thriving unit from its slower-growing grocery wholesale and food retail businesses.

The separation will be through a pro-rata distribution of shares of Save-A-Lot common stock to Supervalu stockholders, who will own at least 80.1 percent of the outstanding shares of the new company.

Supervalu said Save-A-Lot will trade on the New York Stock Exchange, but did not disclose details on the company’s ticker symbol or when the transaction will close.

The distribution of Save-A-Lot common stock is intended to be tax-free and does not require shareholder approval, the company said in a filing on Thursday.

As an alternative to a spinoff, Supervalu was preparing to explore a sale of Save-A-Lot and had received interest from several private equity firms, Reuters reported in November citing people familiar with the matter.

A traditional grocer, Supervalu is losing market share to big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) who are increasing their focus on selling groceries.

Supervalu’s shares were down 6.8 percent at $6.24 in an overall weak market.

Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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