BOISE, Idaho (FNS) -- Albertson's here has extended its offer to acquire Buttrey Food & Drug Stores Co., Great Falls, Mont., for approximately $134 million to April 30, pending a second request for information on the deal from the Federal Trade Commission.
Albertson's said, however, that it has agreed with the FTC, which made the request under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Act, not to provide the FTC with additional information until after March 23, a negotiated date meant to give both sides "breathing room" to work on the deal.
Under the Act, Albertson's can not complete its Buttrey offer any earlier than 10 days after it "substantially complies" with the FTC's second request, unless a new agreement is forged with the agency.
All other terms of the deal, including Albertson's offer to buy approximately 8.6 million shares of Buttrey at $15.50 each, remain unchanged. Albertson's original offer would have expired Feb. 23 without the extension.
In a statement, Albertson's expressed "continued confidence" that its acquisition of Buttrey will be completed."
Albertson's also released its fourth-quarter and fiscal-year results, which showed increases in sales and earnings.
The company said annual sales increased 6.6% to $14.7 billion. Identical-store sales increased 0.3%, while comparable-store sales, including replacement stores, increased 0.4%. Net earnings for the year increased 4.7% to $516.8 million, or $2.08 per share, compared with $493.8 million, or $1.95 per share, last year.
For the 13-week fourth quarter, sales increased 6.0% to $3.8 billion. Same-store sales increased 0.8% and comparable-store sales increased 1.0%. Net earnings increased 13.2% to $174.7 million, or 71 cents per share, compared with $154.3 million, or 61 cents per share, a year ago.
During 1997, Albertson's square footage grew 7.4% over the prior year. The company ended the fiscal year with 878 retail stores operating 42.8 million square feet. Albertson's opened 29 stores in the fourth quarter, for a total of 64 in the 52-week period, including four acquired units. The company completed 13 remodels in the quarter, for a total of 35 on the year, including the Cedar Park, Texas, store, which was destroyed by a tornado last May. Albertson's closed 12 stores in 1997, eight of them in the fourth quarter.
"During the year we continued to invest in programs that provide solutions to our customers' needs, and we have made great progress in our sales initiatives," said A. Craig Olson, senior vice president and chief financial officer. "We have focused on opening and operating a better neighborhood store. Consequently, we are opening some of the most exciting stores in our history as we introduce new destination categories and tailor each store to its neighborhood.
"Going forward, we will continue to focus our attention on growing sales by responding more effectively to changing consumer needs and shopping habits."
Qtr Ended 1/29/98 1/30/97
Sales $3.8 billion $3.6 billion
Change + 6.0%
Same-store + 0.8%
Net Income $174.7 million $154.3 million
Change + 13.2%
Inc/Share 71 cents 61 cents
52 Weeks 1997 1996
Sales $14.7 billion $13.8 billion