CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. has entered an agreement to purchase all outstanding shares of Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc., a transaction valued at $49.38 per outstanding share, or about $2.5 billion.

“Harris Teeter is an exceptional company with a great brand, friendly and talented associates, and attractive store formats in vibrant markets run by a first-class management team,” said David B. Dillon, chairman and chief executive officer of Kroger. “They share our customer-centric approach to everything we do — from store format and merchandising to innovative loyalty programs. This is a financially and strategically compelling transaction and a unique opportunity for our shareholders and associates. We look forward to bringing together the best of Kroger and Harris Teeter while continuing to operate and grow the Harris Teeter brands. Together, we can continue to deepen our connections with customers across all of our markets.”

Harris Teeter will continue to operate its stores as a subsidiary of The Kroger Co. after the transaction closes. There are no plans to close stores. In the full year after the merger, Kroger expects the transaction to boost earnings per share in the range of 6c to 9c.

Headquartered in Matthews, N.C., Harris Teeter Supermarkets has a regional chain of 212 supermarkets in eight states in the southeastern, Mid-Atlantic and District of Columbia region. The company also has distribution centers for grocery, frozen and perishable food in Greensboro, N.C., and Indian Trail, N.C., as well as a dairy facility in High Point, N.C. Revenue for fiscal 2012 was about $4.5 billion, and the company announced in January it was looking at strategic alternatives.