Yucaipa Companies, an investment firm founded by billionaire Ronald Burkle, announced Tuesday that it acquired the Fresh & Easy grocery chain’s US holdings from its UK owner. The firm will complete its purchase within the next three months. Business will go on as usual at the grocery stores while its workforce of around 4,000 workers is transitioned with the assets to the new owner.
Tesco announced several months ago that it would unload its US assets that included 200 stores in Arizona, California, and Nevada. According to reports made by the Associated Press, 50 Fresh & Easy stores will be closed in the coming weeks.
The details about the deal were not released to the public but according to reports, 150 stores will be transferred to Yucaipa Companies as well as its Riverside distribution hub. It was also reported that Tesco will lend the company around $126 million to take the grocery chain off their hands, with the loan secured against the Riverside facility. Tesco has never made any profits since it entered the US market.
Burkle said Tesco gave Fresh & Easy a tremendous foundation that gives a solid starting point to complete the vision with some changes that they think will make it more attractive to consumers. He added that the changes are on their way but the grocery chain is not going anywhere.
Burkle has developed a reputation for his extreme wealth and investments. He has powerful friends, such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. He came from humble beginnings as a son of a grocer. He started in the industry as a box boy at the age of 13.
He is now the 427th richest person in the worth with a net worth of $3.1 billion dollars. In the United States, he’s ranked 144th richest person. He used to stock shelves in the Stater Bros. store that his father managed. He formed Yucaipa Companies in 1986.