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Sean Ryan is associate editor of Real Estate New Jersey.

MONTVALE, NJ–The financially strapped Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. has completed its sale of the 236-store A&P Canada to Canadian grocer Metro for $1.55 billion in cash, stock and debt assumption. A&P received just over 18 million class A subordinate shares of Metro stock for its subsidiary, about 15.83% of the outstanding shares. A previous breakdown of the fees estimated $982 million in cash for the locally based grocer. A&P will also have two people on Metro’s board.

“The cash proceeds will fulfill our financial objectives,” says Christian Haub, A&P’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “It will strengthen and de-leverage our balance sheet, improve liquidity and provide sufficient capital to continue our fresh and discount retail formats in the US. This represents major step toward our goal of achieving sustained profitability by 2007.”

Metro president/CEO Pierre H. Lessard says the A&P acquisition “enhances Metro’s strategic position in Canada’s two largest markets [Ontario and Quebec]. The strategic and geographic fit between our two companies is compelling.” A&P Canada operates stores north of the border under the A&P, Dominion, Ultra Food & Drug, Food Basics and the Barn Markets banners. Q1 sales for 2005 were $1.2 billion. Metro’s stores, excluding the new A&P acquisition, include the Metro, Loeb, Brunet and Clini Plus banners.

US banners for A&P include A&P, Waldbaums, the Food Emporium, Super Foodmart, Super Fresh, Farmer Jack, Sav-A-Center and Food Basics. The company operates 442 in 10 states, mostly in the Northeast.

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