Major competitor buys stake in family-owned Ontario grocery chain Longo's for $357M
Longo's, the family-owned grocery store brand from Southern Ontario, has just been largely bought out by the supermarket giant behind Sobeys, FreshCo, Farm Boy, Foodland.
Empire Company Limited announced the major acquisition on Tuesday morning, in which they've purchased the majority stake (51 per cent) of the Longo family's stores and their long-running online grocery tool Grocery Gateway for a cool $357 million.
Hi there, we appreciate the love.😊 Longo's and Grocery Gateway will continue to operate independently from other Empire brands. Our Guests, like you, will continue to receive the same high quality products and exceptional experiences you know and love.— Longo's (@LongosMarkets) March 16, 2021
Founded by the Longo family in 1956 with its first location in Toronto, the small homegrown chain has a total of 5,000 employees and 36 locations across the GTHA, including 10 in the city and two in Mississauga.
Its e-commerce site, Grocery Gateway, was a pioneer in the field, launched all the way back in 1997. It is currently purported to have more than 70,000 customers.
Longo's President and CEO Anthony Longo will continue to operate his family's brands, first started by his father and uncles, despite the change of hands.
To acknowledge the further consolidation of grocery store monopolies... going to Cedar's this aft...#Longos— Tonya Davidson (@davidson_tonya) March 16, 2021
A press release states that "although managed separately, Longo's will benefit from Empire's infrastructure and capabilities, in areas such as Sourcing, Logistics and Real Estate."
Based on online reaction thus far, shoppers don't seem too excited about the news, and worry about how it will impact the quality they've come to know from the business.
As I recall, Longos sources a great deal of their food from the OFT. Have to believe his will shift a lot of purchasing away from the OFT and into Sobey’s distribution, which is great for Sobey’s bottom line but bad for food quality and local distributors & growers.— KeepThemHonest (@Ward3Toronto) March 16, 2021
The majority stake means that Empire can eventually acquire the brand outright and be a 100 per cent owner in the future, though the Longo family says in the release that they intend to remain as long-term shareholders of their homegrown company.
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