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NEW YORK CITY-More than one buyer will likely purchase the assets of Boise, ID-based grocery Albertsons, which went on the blockearlier this month, according to a Lehman Brothers report. Retail analysts at the investment bank also values Albertsons’ assets at $18.4 billion.

One reason the company is not likely to find one buyer for all of its assets, the report says, is because its portfolio is very mixed. Strong-performing chains that the grocer owns include the 211-store Shaw’s in New England, the 137-store Acme in the Mid-Atlantic and Jewel/Osco, with 203 units in the Midwest. Lehman also rated the company’s 695 stand-alone drugstores under the Savon and Osco banners as high value.

But many more stores are in tougher markets. The 453 stores in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas face growing competition from Wal-Mart Supercenters. Many of these stores, according to Lehman, could sell as individual properties.

The 151 units in the Dakotas, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming are a “mixed bag of stores and markets.” In some of these areas, the grocer lags at the number four spot behind some of its competitors and, again, faces growing pressure from Wal-Mart.

On the real estate end, Albertsons owns the land and building at 40% of its stores and the buildings and leases at another 10%, the report reveals. Lehman predicts that stores sold to grocery operators could command between $90 and $145 per sf, while those divested to non-supermarket chains will only draw from $40 to $75 per sf. The size and locations of supermarket boxes are specialized and often only attractive to other grocery investors, the report explains.

“For the most part, we have valued the stores as ongoing businesses rather than as real estate to be sold off,” the report says. “Only in markets where no one is likely to want to operate the majority of the stores as a group have we estimated the real estate value and valued the stores on that basis.”

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