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End of family ownership for US supermarket chain

The family behind US chain United Supermarkets has sold their business to a rival supermarket business, bringing 97 years of family ownership to a close.

The family behind US chain United Supermarkets has sold their business to a rival supermarket business, bringing 97 years of family ownership to a close.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday night, fourth-generation co-president Matt Bumstead said: "It’s hard for a family to keep their arms around an enterprise, a mission, as something grows over that many years."

He said the family felt overmatched by their Texas-based business, which now has more than 80 outlets under its four brands – United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos and United Express.

"We've seen other family supermarket businesses who had been great reach a point where they were dying on the vine. In many cases it was because, through no real fault of their own, the family lost control, they lost their ability to support."

Bumstead said the family chose to sell to Idaho-based Albertson's because it had said it promised all stores would continue to operate under their current brand names and and would "let United be United".

Founded in the town of Lubbock in 1916, United now has annual revenues of more than $1.4 billion (€1.1 billion).

Albertson's, owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, will also acquire United-owned subsidiaries RC Taylor Distributing, Prators and Llano Logistics.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed, and is due to be concluded by the end of October.  

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