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United Natural Foods to buy Supervalu; plans to divest Cub Foods

United Natural Foods is paying $1.26 billion for Supervalu, the parent of Cub Foods. | Sun-Times file photo

United Natural Foods is buying Supervalu for $1.26 billion, creating a grocery food wholesaler with a diverse customer base.

United Natural Foods of Providence, Rhode Island, said Thursday it’s paying $32.50 per share in cash, or a premium of 67 percent, for each share of Supervalu Inc. Including the assumption of debt, the deal is valued at nearly $3 billion.

Over time, the company will divest Supervalu’s retail operations, which operate under names including Cub Foods and Hornbacher’s.

Minneapolis-based Supervalu reported separately that quarterly sales rose 35 percent, with wholesale sales up 49 percent. The company swung to a first-quarter loss of $21 million, or 70 cents per share.