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    Balducci's Owner Hires Retail Operating Partner

    NEW YORK -- Private equity firm Bear Stearns Merchant Banking (BSMB) here, owner of Bethesda, Md.-based upscale grocer Balducci's, said yesterday that it has hired a new operating partner, Richard L. Markee, a retail industry veteran with over 30 years of experience.

    NEW YORK -- Private equity firm Bear Stearns Merchant Banking (BSMB) here, owner of Bethesda, Md.-based upscale grocer Balducci's, said yesterday that it has hired a new operating partner, Richard L. Markee, a retail industry veteran with over 30 years of experience.

    Markee most recently served as vice chairman of Toys "R" Us, Inc., where he was responsible for the expansion of Babies "R" Us. He was also chairman of Toys "R" Us, Japan. During his tenure at Toys "R" Us, Markee oversaw international operations, U.S. toy store distribution, information technology, and international franchising. Before joining Toys "R" Us, he was v.p. of merchandising at Target.

    Besides Balducci's, recent retail investments by BSMB include Everything But Water, Harlem Furniture, and Vitamin Shoppe.

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