AB Acquisition, the holding company that operates Safeway, has hired bankers to plan an initial public offering for later this year, sources with knowledge of the matter told CNBC. The IPO would raise more than $500 million, the sources said. The exact timing and size of the offering is fluid. It would be the supermarket chain's third IPO.
AB Acquisition is controlled by an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management, which also includes Kimco Realty, Klaff Realty, Lubert-Adler Partners and Schottenstein Stores.
Brian Dowling, a spokesman for AB Acquisition, said the company does not "comment on rumors." A spokesman for Cerberus Capital declined to comment.
Taken together, Safeway and Albertsons, which merged earlier this year, have the second-largest market share among U.S. supermarket chains in retail sales dollars, according to figures kept by Euromonitor.
—Reporting by CNBC's Kate Kelly.