The No. 2 grocery store operator recently adopted a poison pill to prevent a hostile takeover after shareholders pressure on the company. The chain also launched a $2 billion share repurchase program and announced plans to exit the Chicago market.
Safeway, which has a market value of some $8.7 billion is reportedly aware of buyout interest but has not commented.
Private equity firms including Cerberus Capital Management are interested in deals for all or part of the company. Cerberus is already in the supermarket business, having been the leading investor in a $3.3 billion deal to purchase Supervalu grocery chains including Albertsons.
A Safeway buyout could become one of the largest leveraged buyouts since the 2008 financial crisis. The company is being advised by Goldman Sachs.
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