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Safeway Says It’s In Discussions on Possible Sale of Company

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Safeway Inc., the second-largest U.S. grocery-store chain, said it is in discussions about a potential sale of the company.

An agreement on a transaction hasn’t been reached, and there is no assurance a deal will be completed, the Pleasanton, California-based company said today in a statement. The retailer also said it plans to distribute its remaining 37.8 million shares of the Blackhawk gift-card business to Safeway investors and explore ways to monetize its 49 percent stake in Mexican retailer Casa Ley SA de CV.

Safeway has been simplifying its operations and recently sold its 72 Dominick’s stores in the Chicago area after divesting its Canadian business and conducting an initial public offering of Blackhawk in 2013. The chain has struggled to boost sales amid competition with big-box retailers as well as natural and organic-food sellers.

Safeway rose 2.6 percent to $35.50 at 4:09 p.m. in late trading in New York. Shares of the company gained 6.3 percent this year through the close of regular trading today, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 1.1 percent.

Kroger Co., based in Cincinnati, is the largest U.S. supermarket chain.

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