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    Arthur T. Blasts ‘Disingenuous’ Demoulas Board

    Accusations fly as talks between factions stall

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, Stagnito Business Information

    In the continuing soap opera that has come to define the Market Basket power struggle, the apparent acceptance of Demoulas Supermarkets' board of ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas' offer to buy their shares and thus regain control of the troubled company has been met by a request from the former exec "that this matter not be negotiated in the press."

    Amid a flurry of statements from the opposing camps, the board attributed the current impasse to Arthur T.'s refusal to accept certain conditions in regard to the deal's financing. However, according to Arthur T.'s spokeswoman, Justine Griffin, his "terms include an offer at [the board's] asking price, at a valuation determined pre-crisis. ... Thus far, his offers have been rejected, not on the basis of price, but with counterproposals that have been laden with onerous terms that are far beyond comparable transactions."

    Meanwhile, an earlier invitation from the board for Arthur T. return to run the company, as he has already offered to do, but not in the role of CEO, was dismissed by Griffin as a "disingenuous" ploy. "This is an attempt to have him stabilize the company, while they consider selling it to another bidder," she contended, alluding to reports that Delhaize is interested in purchasing Market Basket, with which the Brussels-based retail conglomerate's Hannaford stores compete in Maine. "This is far too serious a situation for these games and attempts at window dressing. It is a serious issue that deserves a serious solution."

    As the Market Basket squabble degenerates into a series of back-and-forth accusations that only serves to further muddy the waters, Arthur T., through Griffin, made a plea for restraint going forward, saying he "hopes that the next time either side is communicating in the press, it is to announce that his bid has been accepted and that he and his whole team are going in to stabilize the company."

    The following is the full statement shared with PG on behalf of Arthur T. Demoulas by spokeswoman Justine Griffin:

    "Five weeks ago these Board members voted to fire Arthur T. Demoulas and banned him from company property. Since that time, the company has spiraled downward and Arthur T. has worked feverishly to purchase the company. On three separate occasions since that time, including as recently as yesterday, Arthur T. has offered in writing and otherwise to try to bring back his entire management team to work to stabilize the company. Each offer was rejected. It is disingenuous to issue a press release at 5:30 on a Friday, from the 'Independent Directors' all of whom were appointed by Arthur S. Demoulas' side of the family, announcing that they have invited him to rejoin the company but not as CEO. This is an attempt to have him stabilize the company, while they consider selling it to another bidder. This is far too serious a situation for these games and attempts at window dressing. It is a serious issue that deserves a serious solution. Market Basket's Associates, customers, vendors and communities deserve better than that. Arthur T. Demoulas has provided a serious proposal which should be accepted. "

    A subsequent statement from Griffin runs in full as follows:

    "It was Arthur T. Demoulas' hope and intent that this matter not be negotiated in the press. He does not believe that a war of press releases and statements is helpful to this very serious situation. However, he cannot allow false information to have a negative impact on Market Basket Associates and other stakeholders and therefore I will clarify the following on his behalf.

    1. Discussions continued today with representatives of the board and their advisors.

    2. Arthur T. Demoulas reaffirms his desire and good faith for completing the purchase of the 50.5% of DSM. Those terms include an offer at their asking price, at a valuation determined pre-crisis.

    3. Thus far, his offers have been rejected, not on the basis of price, but with counterproposals that have been laden with onerous terms that are far beyond comparable transactions.

    4. It is Arthur T. Demoulas' hope that the Arthur S. Demoulas family will come to the table to reach a final agreement on reasonable terms before it is too late to save this company.

    5. He further hopes that the next time either side is communicating in the press, it is to announce that his bid has been accepted and that he and his whole team are going in to stabilize the company.

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, Stagnito Business Information
    • About Bridget Goldschmidt In addition to serving as Progressive Grocer’s Managing Editor, Bridget writes many print and digital features encompassing a range of grocery and fresh categories across the store. Bridget also enjoys on-site reporting assignments at such key industry events as the New York Fancy Food Show and the International Boston Seafood Show, in addition to visiting stores for PG’s prestigious Store of the Month feature. In her years with the magazine, she has developed into a knowledgeable voice on grocery industry trends, sought by such distinguished publications as The New York Times.

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