Haggen Inc. has acquired 146 grocery stores on the west coast of the U.S. for an undisclosed amount.

Haggen, headquartered in Bellingham, Washington, operates 18 specialty grocery stores in Washington and Oregon. The company is majority owned by private equity firm Comvest Partners. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With the additional stores, Haggen will have 164 stores and 106 pharmacies in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Of the new stores, 86 are in California. The deal is expected to close during the first half of 2015.

This is Haggen's largest expansion, and will advance the business' west coast operations, and establish California as the company's new dominant market.

Haggen was able to buy the stores because of the regulatory process surrounding the Albertsons LLC and Safeway merger, which requires the grocers to divest stores. Grocery giants Albertson's and Safeway announced merger plans in March

Comvest Partners, headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida, has about $1.3 billion in assets under management. The firms other consumer goods and retail investments include Bel USA, which does business as DiscountMugs.com, and Robbins Brothers, a jewelry chain.

Akerman LLP advised Haggen on the acquisition.

Private equity firm TPG Capital has also made its way into the specialty grocery space, picking up the owner of Gelson's Markets in February 2014 for $394 million. 

The expansion of specialty grocers aligns with consumer interest in better-for-you foods and products. For more, see Grocers Grow


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