U.S. supermarket operator Albertsons Companies Inc ACI.N decided to go ahead with a downsized $800 million initial public offering (IPO) on Thursday, the culmination of multiple attempts by its private equity owner Cerberus Capital Management LP to cash out.
Cerberus has been an investor in Albertsons since 2006 and has been trying to take the company public since 2015. The grocer’s anemic growth had faced pushback from IPO investors, as well as shareholders of Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N), the pharmacy chain it tried to merge with two years ago.
The COVID-19 pandemic buoyed Albertsons’ fortunes, however, as consumers stocked up on food while staying at home. Albertsons’ sales in March and most of April were up 34% from last year. Yet the scaling back of the IPO on Thursday indicates that some investor skepticism lingers.
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