Sobeys owner to buy Farm Boy for $800 million

25 Setiembre, 2018, 09:57 | Author: Arnold Perez
  • The parent company of grocery chain Sobeys Inc. says it has reached a deal to acquire food retailer Farm Boy in a bid to expand its reach in Ontario. Farm Boy CEO Jeff York poses for

People who shop at Farm Boy are passionate, acknowledged Michael Medline, CEO of Empire Co.

The parent company of Sobeys announced Monday morning it is purchasing Farm Boy.

"This is a jewel of an asset", Medline told analysts on a call Monday discussing the transaction. "We don't want to ruin the magic of Farm Boy".

But executives on a conference call today on both sides of the deal assured the public that nothing will change.

Farm Boy will be managed separately from Empire's broader operations, according to terms of the deal that's expected to be finalized in early 2019.

Farm Boy founder and co-CEO Jean-Louis Bellemare and co-CEO Jeff York will continue in their roles.

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The deal means Farm Boy will ramp up its expansion in the Toronto area and southwestern Ontario.

Plans are to "turbo-charge" Farm Boy's growth, doubling the size of the business in the next five years, the statement said. Some Sobeys stores may be converted to Farm Boys.

Farm Boy opened its first grocery store in Cornwall in 1981, and offers fresh foods and its own private-label grocery products, a format which has drawn some comparisons to popular US food retail chain Trader Joe's. Empire will provide help with logistics and real estate, Medline said in the call.

Empire says Farm Boy products will also be added to Sobeys' Ocado-based e-commerce business, an online grocery platform which will launch in 2020 in the Greater Toronto Area.

Meanwhile, Empire does not have any other "growth assets" now in its sights, said Medline.

However, it's unclear how much things will change at the popular Ottawa stores known for their fresh produce, locally-sourced products and ready-to-eat prepared foods.

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