NEW INFO: Kroger To Buy Harris Teeter For About $2.44 Billion

Kroger says it has agreed to buy Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. for about $2.44 billion in cash.

Kroger will pay $49.38 for each of its rival supermarket chain's shares. The price represents a 2 percent increase over the company's Monday closing stock price. The deal has been approved by both companies' boards.

Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter operates 212 stores in southeastern and mid-Atlantic markets, along with a pair of distribution centers and a dairy facility. Its fiscal 2012 revenue totaled about $4.5 billion.

There are three Harris Teeters in Greenville, while there are also locations in New Bern, Jacksonville, Wilson and Rocky Mount.

The only Kroger in the area closed down in Greenville nearly three years ago. Ironically, Harris Teeter now occupies that University Commons location.

Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. says it expects the deal to result in cost savings of $40 million to $50 million over the next three to four years.

Kroger says Harris Teeter stores will keep their name, but operate as a subsidiary of Kroger. The company says it has no plans to close any of the Harris Teeter locations.

Kroger will finance the deal with debt and plans to assume Harris Teeter's outstanding debt of about $100 million.