Kroger To Purchase Harris Teeter Supermarkets
The nation's largest grocery store chain, Kroger Co., is expanding with the $2.4 billion acquisition of the grocery store chain, Harris Teeter Supermarkets. The addition of the chain will increase the number of states that Kroger Co. operates in by three, expanding the Company’s reach to 34 states.
The deal will be the fourth-largest acquisition in North American for a food retailer in the past decade, and Kroger's biggest takeover since 1998, when it bought Fred Meyer for over $12 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Kroger is inheriting a cluster of semi-new stores that the Company won't have to remodel or upgrade in prime locations. Harris Teeter has 212 stores in what Kroger stated as attractive, high-growth markets in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic and about $4.5 billion in revenue for fiscal 2012.
"This is a financially and strategically compelling transaction and a unique opportunity for our shareholders and associates," Kroger Chairman and CEO David Dillon said in a statement.
Read related content:
- Zynga Hires Microsoft's Don Mattrick
- Walmart Gives Entrepreneurs a Chance
- RadioShack Opens New Concept Store in Manhattan
The deal puts Kroger closer to $100 billion in sales annually, an achievable goal that CEO David Dillon vowed at the Company's annual meeting in June. The Company reported $96.8 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ending February 2.
Kroger is second behind Wal-Mart in retail sales in the United States, larger than Target, Home Depot and CVS, though not as well known as some brands because the Company operates in different regions under different names.
Following in Wal-Mart’s footsteps, Kroger is more than a grocery store chain, the Company also runs supercenter-style merchandise and food stores, including the Fred Meyer chain in the Northwest. Still based in downtown Cincinnati, Kroger was founded in the 19th century and is still a big deal to locals.
Kroger forecasts the acquisition will bring a cost savings of $40 million to $50 million over the next three to four years. Harris Teeter CEO Thomas Dickson called Kroger "one of the best food retailers in the U.S." and said the company's plans for growth will continue after the merger.
Together, the companies will operate 2,631 supermarkets and employ over 368,300 associates across 34 states and in Washington, D.C. Harris Teeter operates 212 stores in eight southeastern and mid-Atlantic states and Washington DC, along with a pair of distribution centers and a dairy facility in North Carolina.
Kroger operates 2,419 stores in 31 states. In addition to its flagship brand of supermarkets, it also owns Ralphs, Fry's, King Sooper and Food 4 Less.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”