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The family feud which has played out publicly for the past six weeks and which has brought the regional Market Basket grocery chain to the brink of ruin might be nearing an end. Or not.
In the wake of Arthur T. Demoulas’ $1.5 billion bid to buy back the embattled 72-store operation, the two factions involved in a deal are said to be deadlocked over terms.
A Market Basket board meeting slated for Sunday night was cancelled when it emerged that shareholders wouldn’t give the final OK to the stock purchase agreement worked out by the rival cousins to transfer ownership of Tewksbury, Mass.-based Demoulas Supermarkets, the Boston Globe reported. The shareholders must agree to the sale terms for the deal to be approved. One major bone of contention is apparently what role Arthur T. would play in the company going forward, the newspaper reported. Many Market Basket employees have declared that they won’t return to work until Arthur T. takes the helm again.
After submitting his offer late last week, Arthur T. anticipated “that this purchase can and should be finalized immediately,” his spokeswoman, Justine Griffin, told PG. “The bid remains at full price, and its terms are extremely favorable to the sellers. There is nothing that stands in the way of getting this done this weekend. It’s time to complete this deal so we can all get back to doing what we love doing, and that is running Market Basket.”
Arthur T.’s offer was to buy the 50.5 percent of the company currently owned by Arthur S. According to the Globe, money for the $1.5 billion buyout plus an additional $500 million-plus would come from a private equity firm, while the rest would come from Arthur T., his sisters and a mortgage loan.
The approval of Arthur T.’s bid by Market Basket’s shareholders would likely put an end to the tumultuous and seemingly endless business dispute that has rendered the grocer nearly nonoperational since the ex-CEO’s ouster in June of this year. For all parties involved, as well as the grocery industry as a whole, that would be the best solution.