Artie T. to Cousin: I Want To Buy You Out!
Late Wednesday night, Arthur T. released information to multiple media outlets revealing that he and his partners (family member aligned with him) have made an offer to Arthur S. and his allies on the board to buy out their 50.5 percent stake in the company, according to an article appearing in the Lowell Sun.
"We believe that our offer is a very fair and full one, and should meet or exceed a seller's expectations of the value of the company," Arthur T. was quoted as saying in the article.
Arthur T. DeMoulas is still presently the largest individual shareholder in the privately held company, at 14 percent. However, he was ousted as CEO/President last month when his cousin, Arthur S. gained enough support from the seven-member Board of Directors. The pair has battled over control of the company for many years.
The Demoulas Board is scheduled to meet in Boston on Friday to take Arthur T.'s offer under consideration and discuss the labor unrest that has all but shutdown the 71 Market Basket supermarkets in New England for the past several days, costing the company millions of dollars a day.
WHDH Ch. 7 reported on Wednesday that gross sales at Market Basket stores had dropped 91 percent this week, as shelves of produce, seafood and meats remained empty. Multiple media outlets reported that store managers throughout the company were turning away delivery trucks filled with food from the DeMoulas Warehouse and being driven by replacement drivers hired by the company.
Employees announced earlier on Wednesday that they will be holding their "Grand Finale" rally/protest on Friday morning in the parking lot outside the Market Basket in Stadium Plaza at 10 Main St., Tewksbury.
All of which has led some business observers to wonder if the protests and rallies of the past week have been less organic than originally thought, but rather have been part of a carefully orchestrated plan by Arthur T. to regain control of the company.
If so, the plan has worked brilliantly. Not only have most of the company's 25,000 employees rallied to "Artie T's" cause but customers and state political leaders have joined and encouraged a boycott of the stores.
During the course of their protests, employees have outlined some of their concerns about Arthur S. Demoulas and the company's new co-CEOs, Felicia Thornton and Jim Gooch. One concern has been over changes they believe the new management wants to make in the employees generous profit sharing plan. A second is the belief that Arthur S. wants to sell the company to a larger grocery chain.
Arthur T.'s buyout offer may present his cousin with a win-win option.
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