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Kroger Reportedly Among Possible Market Basket Buyers

Market Basket, Covid-19

The Kroger Co. is reportedly among the grocers considering a bid for Market Basket, the New England supermarket chain that is embroiled in a family dispute over who has control of the company.

Bloomberg reports that Kroger is among about a dozen possible buyers. Others reportedly include Ahold and Delhaize.

Market Basket, with 71 stores in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire, is valued at about $3.5 billion.

As The Boston Globe reports, “The crisis began in late June, when Arthur T. Demoulas was fired as president of the company by a board controlled by Arthur S. Demoulas. The cousins have been fighting over ownership and management of the company for more than two decades.

“Arthur T. has offered to buy the 50.5 percent of the company owned by Arthur S. and other relatives on his side of the family. But the negotiations over the sale have been extremely contentious, with the parties divided over the terms and the financing, as well as over when and under what conditions Arthur T. would return…

“The company’s employees have rejected repeated demands to return to work from the co-chief executives hired to replace Arthur T. That has made it difficult for the company to stock store shelves and pay vendors, and it has left it facing a creeping financial problem that could lead to store closures and widespread employee terminations unless a deal is reached soon…

“The company’s meltdown in recent weeks has affected not only the employees, but hundreds of growers and food vendors, as well as businesses that occupy space in shopping plazas where Market Basket is the main draw.”

Employees have refused to return to work unless Arthur T. is reinstated as president.

On Sunday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan brokered negotiations in a last-ditch effort to rescue the Market Basket chain, the Globe reports. The talks aimed to end the bitter family standoff that has left company on the brink of collapse and put thousands of people out of work.

After several hours of discussion, a deal remained elusive but the talks were said to be promising, and continued into the night, the newspaper reports.

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