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UNFI To Acquire Blooming Prairie Co-op 28092UNFI To Acquire Blooming Prairie Co-op

August 26, 2002

2 Min Read
UNFI To Acquire Blooming Prairie Co-op

UNFI To Acquire Blooming Prairie Co-op

DAYVILLE, Conn.--United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) (NASDAQ:UNFI)signed a letter of intent to acquire Iowa City, Iowa-based Blooming PrairieCooperative Warehouse, the largest volume distributor of natural foods in theMidwest. In business since 1974, Blooming Prairie had approximately $130 millionin sales for the last 12 months. Terms of the proposed acquisition were notdisclosed.

Blooming Prairie is owned by more than 2,200 retail stores, co-ops and buyingclubs in the upper Midwest and employs approximately 280 people between itsheadquarters in Iowa and its other distribution facility in Mounds View, Minn.

"One of our stated goals has been to further broaden our presence andincrease customer penetration in the fast-growing Midwest market," saidMichael Fund, UNFI chief executive officer. "Acquiring Blooming Prairie'sIowa City and Minneapolis facilities will provide us with an immediate physicalbase as well as the growth platform to meet that goal and the volume to expandcost-effectively."

On Aug. 5, Blooming Prairie (www.bpco-op.com)mailed information to its members to support the proposal. Peter Roang, chair ofBlooming Prairie's board of directors, noted the co-op is enjoying strong growthand that the proposal represents an opportunity for Blooming Prairie, one of thetop regional distributors in the natural products industry, to join with aleading national company.

Finalization of the acquisition is contingent upon the execution of an assetpurchase agreement and approval by the board members of both companies, as wellas by the cooperative's members. UNFI (www.unfi.com)expects the transaction to close in its first (ending Oct. 31) or second quarter(ending Jan. 31, 2003) of fiscal 2003.

"The proposal in general is something we're seeing as anopportunity," said Susan Futrell, Blooming Prairie's director ofcommunications. The future of the company's employees, executives and boardmembers has not been decided nor released yet. "[The details] probablywon't be released until our members have voted on it and both Blooming Prairie'sand UNFI's boards have agreed [with the terms]," she added. Futrell alsostated a vote will be scheduled once the purchase agreement has been finalized,which may be sometime in September.

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