Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market has announced it has completed the takeover Sunflower Farmers Markets of Boulder, Colorado that will give it 144 stores nationally in eight states. All stores were rebranded under the Sprouts banner and the group is predicted to earn sales revenue of close to $US 2 billion. CEO Shon Boney said Sprouts Farmers Market and Sunflower Farmers Market will merge under the majority ownership and sponsorship of Apollo Management, LP, one of the world's leading private equity firms.

“The combined company will have 144 stores and about 10,000 employees at the time the transaction closes, with several more stores slated to open in 2012 and beyond,” he said. “That will make Sprouts one of the largest grocery retailers specializing in fresh and natural foods in the region, and will extend the company's footprint into Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Oklahoma.”

In 2011, Apollo bought a controlling interest in the 63-store Sprouts, and Smart & Final sold Henry's to Sprouts in April 2011, effectively reuniting two companies that had been founded years ago by the Boney Family of San Diego. At the time, Henry's was operating 43 total store locations, comprised of 34 stores in California and nine stores in Texas operating under the Sun Harvest banner. Both Henry's and Sprouts are farmer’s market-style grocery stores that are largely natural and organic.

Today, with more than 100 stores, more than 7,000 employees and well over $1 billion in annual sales in 2011, Sprouts has become one of the fastest growing retailers in the United States. Last year, Sprouts Farmers Market’s 30,865 square-foot market in Sunnyvale was the first Northern California location for the group.