Providence-based United Natural Foods Inc. is using Kekst & Co. for its $2.9B cash deal, including the assumption of debt, for SuperValu, grocery wholesaler and retailer with $14B in annual revenues.

Steve Spinner, UNFI's CEO, said the transaction is part of his "Build out the Store" growth strategy. "Combining our leading position in natural and organic foods with SUPERVALU's presence in fast-turning products makes us the partner of choice for a broader range of customers," he said in a statement. "Together, we can provide our 'better for you' products as well as other high-growth segments, improving customers' competitive advantages in a dynamic marketplace."

Spinner will helm the combined company and UNFI COO Sean Griffin will handle integration efforts, roll out the best practices of each company and develop synergies.

UNFI plans to ultimately divest Minneapolis-headquartered SuperValu's retail outlets. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the year.

Kekst's Lissa Perlman handles media for UNFI.