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    Safeway Preps for Blackhawk IPO

    Blackhawk offers prepaid gift cards and payment services.

    PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway Inc. plans to file for a potential initial public offering (IPO) of a minority ownership stake in Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of the Pleasanton, Calif.-based grocer that operates Blackhawk Network Inc., a prepaid payments network for consumers and businesses.

    Depending on market conditions, the company anticipates executing a transaction in the first half of 2013.

    Blackhawk offers prepaid gift cards and payment services from leading brands through a network of grocery stores, big box, convenience stores, pharmacy, specialty stores and Internet retailers including GiftCardMall.com. Blackhawk operates a proprietary network that connects to more than 500 content providers and more than 70,000 active retail distribution locations globally.

    Safeway Inc. is one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America based on sales. The company operates 1,666 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $43.6 billion in 2011.

     

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