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Kroger acquires Vitacost.com to take digital to next level

By Stephen DANIELLS , 03-Jul-2014

Kroger acquires Vitacost.com to take digital to next level

The Kroger Co. has acquired all outstanding shares of Vitacost.com for approximately $280 million, with the grocery giant seeing Vitacost.com’s healthy living products as complementary to it fast-growing natural foods business.

“This merger is in line with our growth strategy to enter new markets and new channels, and – along with Harris Teeter's online order and pick up service – accelerates our efforts to provide customers with even more ways to shop,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's CEO.

“Vitacost.com's core focus on healthy living products is complementary to our fast-growing natural foods business, and we intend to grow Vitacost.com's strong position in the online nutrition market.  At the same time, we will build on Vitacost.com's eCommerce platform by integrating it with our existing digital offerings to create exciting new levels of personalization and convenience for our customers.”

Kroger is paying $8.00 per share in cash for the outstanding shares, which represents a premium of 51% to Vitacost.com's closing share price on Feb. 19, 2014.

“This transaction represents a significant premium for our shareholders and the company will benefit by leveraging Kroger's scale and resources to further drive the online healthy living industry to new heights,” said Jeffrey Horowitz, Vitacost.com’s CEO.

Vitacost.com offers a substantial platform that includes technology and ship-to-home fulfillment centers to serve customers in all 50 states and internationally, said Kroger in a release. The online retailer offers more than 45,000 products including vitamins, minerals, herbs, supplements, sports nutrition, beauty care products and natural and organic foods to approximately 2.3 million active customers. The company reported annual revenue of $382.7 million in fiscal 2013.