Supermarket chain Kroger said Wednesday that it is buying online vitamin seller Vitacost.com Inc. in a deal the company said is valued at $280 million.

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Supermarket chain Kroger said Wednesday that it is buying online vitamin seller Vitacost.com Inc. in a deal the company said is valued at $280 million.

Kroger said Vitacost.com will help it expand online and give it access to Vitacost.com’s shipping network and two distribution centers.

Cincinnati-based Kroger said it will pay $8 per share in cash for Vitacost.com, a 27 percent premium of its closing price of $6.28 Tuesday. The total purchasing price includes stock warrants and options. Vitacost.com, which is based in Boca Raton, Florida, will operate as a subsidiary of Kroger.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

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Kroger said Vitacost.com sells 45,000 products, including minerals, herbs, supplements and organic foods, to about 2.3 million customers. Vitacost.com reported revenue of $382.7 million last year.

“Vitacost.com’s core focus on healthy living products is complementary to our fast-growing natural foods business,” said Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen.

Kroger Co. runs more than 2,600 supermarkets around the country, including City Market, Dillons and Ralphs stores.

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