LOS ANGELES --
Smart & Final here said yesterday that it has agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of private-equity firm Apollo Management for about $812.9 million, including debt. Purchase, N.Y.-based Apollo said it would pay $22 per share for the chain, including the 55% of Smart & Final that is owned by French retail concern Groupe Casino. Smart & Final, which operates a hybrid warehouse club/supermarket format, had said last year it was exploring strategic alternatives. Apollo, which has owned several retail companies, was reported to be one of the unsuccessful bidders in last year‘s sale of Albertsons. It was also said to be considering an investment in online grocer Peapod in 2000. Smart & Final also reported net income for the 12-week fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 31, of about $5.1 million, a decline of about 45% from year-ago results. The earlier period included $4.1 million in one-time gains. Sales for the recent quarter totaled $491.4 million, up 7.6%, including comp-store sales gains of 5.7%. For the year, the company said net income fell 2.5%, to $20.8 million, on sales gains of 5%, to $2.1 billion. Smart & Final operates 254 stores in six Western states and Northern Mexico.