The sale of online grocer FreshDirect to a Dutch company has been cleared by federal antitrust authorities, closing a deal that was first announced last November. The Dutch company, Ahold Delhaize, is partnering with New York-based private equity firm on the deal, which sources speculate to have cost $300 million.
Early reports are that FreshDirect will continue to operate out of its 400,000-square-foot South Bronx facility.
FreshDirect has been beset by controversy since the city first announced in 2011 it would heavily subsidize the company’s move from its cramped facility in Queens to the Harlem River Yards on the Port Morris waterfront. Grassroots groups bitterly opposed the move, saying the delivery company’s near-1,000 trucks per day operation would worsen already high asthma rates in the area, and that the company and elected officials haven’t fulfilled promises of good-paying jobs for local residents.
Then, in 2018, the company’s CEO Jason Ackerman stepped down amid reports his mismanagement had led to reliability problems that caused major revenue losses, as well as damage to the FreshDirect brand. Ackerman went on to head a Canadian cannabis company, and was replaced by David McInerney, a former executive chef at reputed Manhattan restaurants.
Ahold Delhaize is the parent company for about 2,000 grocery stores nationwide, as well as e-grocer Peapod.