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    Fresh Brands Shareholders Approve Buyout

    SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- Shareholders of Fresh Brands, Inc. here have approved the merger agreement with an affiliate of the Chicago-based grocery wholesale cooperative Certified Grocers Midwest, Inc. at a special meeting. The grocery wholesaler and retailer, which operates Piggly Wiggly and Dick's Supermarkets stores, said it expects the deal to be completed within the next several days.

    SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- Shareholders of Fresh Brands, Inc. here have approved the merger agreement with an affiliate of the Chicago-based grocery wholesale cooperative Certified Grocers Midwest, Inc. at a special meeting. The grocery wholesaler and retailer, which operates Piggly Wiggly and Dick's Supermarkets stores, said it expects the deal to be completed within the next several days.

    Under the terms of the agreement, each outstanding share of Fresh Brands' common stock will be converted into the right to receive $7.05 in cash, Fresh Brands said. Fresh Brands currently has 4.93 million shares of common stock outstanding. The transaction also includes assumed debt and other liabilities.

    Certified Grocers Midwest, Inc., a grocery wholesale cooperative based in Chicago, agreed to buy Fresh Brands in December for about $100 million, or $7.05 per share in cash. The Hodgkins, Ill.-based co-op has members in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota. Many of its member stores operate under the Certi-Saver banner.

    Fresh Brands has 74 franchised supermarkets, 20 corporate-owned supermarkets, and two corporate-owned convenience stores, all of which are served by two distribution centers and a centralized bakery/deli production facility, throughout Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and Iowa.

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