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Tops Friendly Markets will be majority-owned by its current management team by the end of the year.
A contingent of six top executives at the Williamsville, N.Y.-based regional grocery will acquire the stake of the firm from Morgan Stanley Private Equity, which has been majority owner of Tops since 2007.
The deal will result in the ownership of the supermarket chain being entirely in the hands of President and CEO Frank Curci (photo, left); COO Kevin Darrington; CFO Richard Mills; SVP of Operations John Persons; SVP of Human Resources Jack Barrett; and Lynne Burgess, SVP, general counsel and secretary.
Tops officials said the ownership change will not affect the way the supermarkets are run and will further provide the company with more flexibility to allow for further expansion.
“Management is buying the stock of the company and will own all assets and liability,” according to company spokeswoman Katie McKenna. “Morgan Stanley Private Equity has been a very supportive partner to Tops Management for five-plus years. This time period has been one of strong growth for Tops: we’ve doubled our number of stores, increased our geographic footprint and added new jobs in the markets we serve.”
"We're locally operated right now, but to be locally owned and operated is going to be a great thing," McKenna added.
No store closings or layoffs are planned as part of the acquisition.
The newly named Tops Holding II Corp – now the parent of Tops Holding LLC and the indirect parent of Tops Markets LLC
– operates 155 corporate full-service supermarkets under the banners of Tops and Orchard Fresh, with an additional five supermarkets operated by franchisees. With approximately 14,000 associates, Tops serves shoppers in upstate New York, northern Pa. and Vermont. Tops’ strategy is to build on its solid market share in the areas it operates by continuing to differentiate itself from competitors by offering quality products at affordable prices with superior customer service, and by remaining an integral part of the community.