Thirty-six Longo’s locations in Ontario have been sold to Empire Company Limited.

The deal, initially worth $357 million for 51 per cent is based on an enterprise value of $700 million, including the e-commerce site Grocery Gateway.

Longo’s will continue to be operated by the Longo’s leadership team, led by president and CEO, Anthony Longo, the company says.

Empire also owns Sobeys, Foodland, FreshCo, Farm Boy, and Voilà.

Longo’s operates an excellent business with a very strong brand in the greater Toronto area and southwestern Ontario, the largest grocery market in Canada, and furthers Empire’s strategic goal of growing its market presence in Ontario, the company says.

“Empire has strong momentum and we are laser-focused on our Project Horizon growth plans in key markets like the GTA, both in bricks and mortar and e-commerce,” says Michael Medline, president and CEO, Empire. “Longo’s has built one of the most successful and sought-after brands in the GTA and Southwestern Ontario. Longo’s is a crown jewel of grocery and as a values-driven company, Longo’s culture aligns closely with Empire. We couldn’t be happier to be partnering with Anthony and the Longo’s team.”

Empire completed its purchase of Farm Boy in late 2018, setting a “strong foundation” to welcome the Longo’s and Grocery Gateway businesses into its family of banners, the company says. It has plans to open more Longo’s stores in the next five years.

Grocery Gateway, which currently serves 70,000 customers, will continue as a stand-alone business, and will be streamlined into Empire’s Voilà e-commerce business.

The Longo family has expressed their intentions to remain as long-term shareholders of Longo’s, however the deal does include a path to full ownership by Empire following year five of the sale.

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