WISE COLUMN: Harris Teeter being eyed by two suitors

The Harris Teeter at St. Andrews Shopping Center on Savannah Highway is among supermarkets that are in play. Buy this photo

Grocery aisle chatter over buyouts is heating up again.

Cerberus Capital Management LP reportedly is eyeing Harris Teeter, the Matthews, N.C.-based upper-tier grocery chain with several stores in the Charleston area, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Harris Teeter, a publicly traded grocery chain with about 200 stores along the East Coast, has been exploring a potential sale for months. On May 8, the company said in a securities filing that it is in discussions with “certain parties” about strategic alternatives but that it is unknown whether the talks will result in a deal.

Another private-equity firm, Bain Capital LLC, which former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney once ran, also has been eyeing a potential bid for the chain, the Journal reported.

Also in grocery news, the parent company of Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie stores is acquiring Harveys, Sweetbay and Reid's grocery chains for $265 million in cash, it was announced last week.

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie became part of Bi-Lo Holdings LLC in 2011.

The three stores acquired were part of Delhaize America, a subsidiary of Brussels-based Delhaize Group, which also owns Food Lion.

Harveys operates 73 stores in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, including one in Ridgeland. Reid's operates 11 stores in South Carolina, including one in Walterboro and one in St. George. Sweetbay operates 72 stores in Florida.

Prepared to serve

Kitchen 208, the newest restaurant venture of Charming Inns, will open Thursday. It can be found at 208 King St. in the former Carlton Daily Twentieth Century Antiques shop. Charming Inns operates several boutique lodgings and the Wentworth Street restaurant Circa 1886.

Also, the new restaurant at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant is ready to open with a shortened name. The Fish House, part of Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, will fling open its doors Thursday. The 18,000-square-foot establishment at 32 Patriots Point Road will seat 350 and focus on seafood and other fare. Originally it was to be called Blue Marlin Fish House.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524.

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