Brussels, Belgium Belgian international food retailer Delhaize Group has reached an agreement to buy $425 million of assests from Mauldin, S.C.-based BI-LO, a grocery chain that entered bankruptcy proceedings earlier this year. The deal would combine one of the largest food retailers in North Carolina and South Carolina with a smaller rival, and strengthen Delhaize’s ability to compete with Wal-Mart.
Delhaize Group has entered into a non-binding letter of intent to acquire "a substantial majority" of BI-LO's assets. The company said it intends to integrate Bi-Lo, which has 214 stores in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia and recorded more than $2 billion in sales in 2008, into its Food Lion division. Food Lion operates more than 1,300 stores in 11 states.
BI-LO filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code in March. It has come under pressure recently from its creditors to reorganize.
“We at Food Lion, LLC have great admiration for the associates and stores at BI-LO," Rick Anicetti, CEO of Food Lion, said in a statement. "We believe our markets and service philosophy are complementary and we look forward to continuing our discussions with BI-LO."