Empire buying Longo’s

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Empire Company Limited will buy 51 percent of Longo’s, a long-standing, family-built network of specialty grocery stores in the GTA of Ontario, and the Grocery Gateway e-commerce business. The business is valued at $700 million.

The transaction adds two banners to Empire’s growing grocery store and e-commerce businesses in Ontario. Longo’s and Grocery Gateway join Sobeys, Foodland, FreshCo, Farm Boy and VoilĂ . Empire says it will not change the Longo’s and Grocery Gateway businesses. Longo’s plans to open several new stores over the next five years.

Grocery Gateway, which currently serves 70,000 customers, will continue as a stand-alone business. Empire will be looking for efficiencies through collaboration with Empire’s fast growing VoilĂ  online business.

Longo’s will continue to be led by president and CEO Anthony Longo and his executives. Although managed separately, it will benefit from Empire’s infrastructure and capabilities, in areas such as sourcing, logistics and real estate.

Founded in 1956, the first Longo’s store was opened by three brothers, Tommy, Joe and Gus Longo. Today the business has grown to 36 locations in the GTA, including 10 new stores in the last five years and the Grocery Gateway e-commerce business. Sales were approximately $1.1 billion for the year ended February 28, 2021. The Longo family has expressed their intentions to remain as long-term shareholders of Longo’s.

The transaction structure allows Empire to achieve 100 percent ownership of Longo’s over time. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal 2022.