Albertsons kicks off IPO effort

David Salazar
Managing Editor
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Albertsons is going public. The Boise, Idaho-based retailer on Tuesday commenced the initial public offering of 65.8 million shares of its common stock to be sold on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ACI. 

Per a Securities and Exchange Commission Filing, the company expects to begin selling its shares “as soon as practicable,” with an expected price per share of between $18 and $20. Those estimates mean the grocer could bring in between roughly $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion once it goes public. 

In the SEC filing, CEO and president Vivek Sankaran touted the company’s focus on making the shopping experience “easy, exciting and friendly,” which it supports through its focus on growth, productivity, technology, and talent and culture. He also highlighted the COVID-19 pandemic as having highlighted the role of Albertsons and its 20 banners in the communities they operate in. 

“The importance of our role in the communities that we serve has been evident as we strive to meet our customers’ needs during the coronavirus pandemic. Our highest priority has been ensuring the safety of our associates and customers as we continue to keep America fed,” Sankaran wrote. “The way our company has come together since the start of 2020 to support our associates, deliver on our commitment to our customers and support our communities gives me greater conviction in our bright future.”

Among its strong points that the company emphasizes in its filing is its Own Brands program, which it said contributes to making the shopping experience exciting. Albertsons noted plans to launch some 800 new products under its Own Brands labels in the coming years, and highlighted its four $1 billion brands, including O Organics. 

Albertsons has been signaling its intent to go public since the beginning of the year, when sources close to the discussions let slip the company's plans. Then, in March, Albertsons filed an SEC form notifying the regulator of its intent to launch an IPO. 

For Albertsons, when it comes to IPOs, the third time seems to be the charm. The company initially explored a public offering in 2015 following its merger with Safeway. After scrapping that plan, it looked like it might go public in 2018 when it proposed an acquisition of Rite Aid that the drug chain's shareholders rejected, ending that effort. 

The company’s most recent quarterly earnings report showed net sales for the quarter of $14.1 billion, an increase of 1.9% over the previous period. Its net income for the quarter was $54.8 million. The quarter also saw private-brand penetration increase to 25.6%, as well as growth in its curbside pickup offering of 34% and growth in both loyalty program enrollment and digital coupon utilization.