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    Cerberus Bids for Harris Teeter: Report

    Part of chain may stay publicly traded

    Cerberus Capital Management LP has made a bid for Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc., and is mulling a structure in which a part of the Southeast regional supermarket chain would remain publicly traded, according to a published report.

    Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter has been looking into a potential sale for months, while Cerberus, which acquired several grocery chains from Supervalu Inc., wants to expand further in the grocery business, The Wall Street Journal reported.

    According to an article that appeared in the publication last month, the New York-based private equity firm had been considering bidding on Harris Teeter, among a half-dozen candidates, to grow its food retailer investments.

    Cerberus hasn’t yet decided if it would try to acquire the entire company or buy a major piece and leave some part in the hands of public shareholders, a source told The Wall Street Journal.

    It also wasn’t clear whether Harris Teeter has other bidders. Last month, the grocer said in a securities filing that it was in talks with “certain parties” regarding strategic alternatives, but no further bidders have yet come to light.

    Cerberus has in the past sought far more down-market chains than Harris Teeter, but the source told The Wall Street Journal that the private equity firm saw savings in merging Harris Teeter with the Supervalu business.

    Additionally, according to the report, Harris Teeter’s management team and headquarters would remain intact.

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