New Seasons Market is being sold.
The new owner will be West Coast-based Good Food Holdings company. New Seasons CEO Forrest Hoffmaster told OPB the deal was signed Monday night. He expects it to be finalized in the new year.
Right now, a private equity firm called Endeavour Capital owns 64% of New Seasons Market, an investment it began in 2009. Other New Seasons investors include founders Stan Amy and Scott Roseman, as well as some longtime staff.
Under the new deal, Good Food Holdings will purchase the entire operation.
“It’s considered a merger from an operating structure, but it’s a 100% buyout,” Hoffmaster said.
Good Food Holdings was recently bought by South Korea’s Emart as part of the global retailer’s West Coast-based U.S. expansion. The paths of all these companies are deeply intertwined. Emart actually purchased Good Food Holdings from Endeavour Capital, the same private equity firm that owns New Seasons now.
Hoffmaster described Good Food Holdings as a retailer whose philosophy is to operate independent, autonomous brands (like New Seasons) that are focused on their specific region. Hoffmaster said he’ll remain CEO and New Seasons and New Leaf Markets will retain the same leadership teams.
“I think it’s actually a really smart strategy right now in a world of consolidation … which is really creating a more homogenized landscape,” he said. “And Good Food Holdings is dedicated to investing in local food retail companies where we can each maintain our own unique and deep relationships with customers that we have in our local community.”
Good Food Holdings also owns the grocery chains Metropolitan Market in Seattle and Bristol Farms and Lazy Acres Markets in California.
Rumors of a sale have circulated among New Seasons employees for months, some of whom had held out hope for some kind of employee ownership structure. That’s not happening under this deal.
Hoffmaster said he expects the sale to be finalized in January.