British supermarket Sainsbury's said on Tuesday that it would take full ownership of the Highbury and Dragon store investment vehicles, paying Supermarket Income REIT £430.9 million (€489.75 million) for its 51% stake.
Sainsbury's, Britain's second largest grocer after Tesco, has held a 49% interest in Highbury and Dragon, which comprises the freeholds of 26 stores leased to Sainsbury's, since it was created in 2000.
The deal will result in Sainsbury's buying the freeholds of 21 stores which will continue to be operated as Sainsbury's supermarkets.
The remaining five stores will be sold by Sainsbury's, four of which it will lease back.
Sainsbury's has also agreed to fully fund Highbury and Dragon's bond redemptions of £170.5 million on 20 March and £130.4 million on 13 July.
It said the acquisition and bond redemptions would be funded by cash resources and a committed unsecured term facility.
Shares in Sainsbury's, which trades from over 600 supermarkets and over 800 convenience stores, have increased 17% in 2023 so far.
Plans To Close Two Depots
British supermarket group plans to consolidate five existing Sainsbury's and Argos general merchandise depots into three, closing two by 2026, in a move that will impact 1,400 workers, it said on Tuesday.
The sites proposed to close are in Basildon, south east England, and Heywood, northern England.
The jobs impacted will be both Sainsbury's employees and those who work for third party partners, it said, noting that those impacted will have the opportunity to explore alternative roles within the supermarket group.