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In Canada, Empire Company Ltd. - parent to Sobeys, Foodland, FreshCo and Farm Boy - said this week that it is acquiring 51 percent of specialty grocery chain Longo's and its Grocery gateway e-commerce business.

The cost of the acquisition was the equivalent of $287 million (US).

The deal gives Empire the right to purchase the rest of Longo's at a future date.

The CBC writes that "Empire Company Ltd. said the deal adds two high-quality banners to its business and helps it grow in Ontario. Empire said Longo's will be able to benefit from its infrastructure and capabilities in areas such as sourcing, logistics and real estate."

In a message to suppliers, Michael Medline, Empire's president/CEO, and Anthony Longo, president/CEO of Longo’s, said that Longo's would "continue to be family-run, operating independently of Empire’s other businesses, much like Farm Boy …  Longo’s and Grocery Gateway guests will not experience any changes and will receive the same high-quality experience, exceptional private-label offering and e-commerce services they know and love … We are focused on growth and bringing the Longo’s and Grocery Gateway experience to even more Canadian families. We will be opening new stores, creating opportunities for our teams, and continuing to innovate on how we serve our customers and communities."

KC's View:

Longo's is a terrific retailer, and I hope that promises made will be promises kept - that the culture remains intact and it has the ability to continue offering a differentiated level of service and product.

No surprise that Empire would want Grocery gateway, by the way - it is one of the best proprietary e-grocery systems out there.