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Charges And Counter-Charges But Maybe A Deal In Demoulas Saga

Aug 11, 2014 08:44AM ● By Bill Gilman
The two sides in the ongoing Demoulas/Market Basket power struggle spent the weekend engaging in charges and counter charges though their respective PR firms.
However, amid the posturing and attempts to leverage public opinion in negotiations, there appears to be hope that a framework of a deal is in place that would result in Arthur T. Demoulas taking control of the company and an end to the employee strike and customer boycott, which is now entering its fourth week.
On Saturday, the three so-called "independent" members of the seven-member Demoulas Board of Directors, issued a statement blasting Arthur T. for rejecting their offer to have him come back to work in a non-CEO role, along with his entire management team, to help stabilize the company while negotiations on a sale continued.
"Business negotiations should not prevent our Associates from earning a living or our customers from buying groceries.  It is wrong to hold everyone hostage to gain a negotiation advantage," read the statement, in part.
Arthur T., through his spokesperson, Justine Griffin, had called the offer insincere and claimed it was a ploy to get him to help end the strike and boycott, while the board negotiated a sale to a third party.
Later on Saturday, the "Class A" shareholders, led by Arthur S. Demoulas and his side of the family, spoke publicly for the first time since the employee rebellion began and dropped a bombshell. Through their spokesman, they said they are ready and willing to sell their 50.5 percent stake in the company to Arthur T. and his group but that their offer has, to this point, been rejected.
“We care deeply about Market Basket, its employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders and have been working around the clock with our advisors to find a workable solution," read the statement, in part. "We are, and have been, prepared to sell our majority ownership interest in Market Basket to the Class B Shareholders led by Arthur T. Demoulas for the price proposed by Arthur T. Demoulas. We offered deal terms that our nationally recognized financial advisors informed us are customary for this type of deal.”
On Sunday, Arthur T.'s camp accused Arthur S. and the "Class A" shareholders of spreading mis-information through the media. While Griffin confirmed the two sides were on the same page relative to an asking price, she said the other side is trying to include unacceptable conditions on the sale.
"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," said Griffin, in the statement. 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. 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."
Through Griffin, Arthur T. also called on both sides to end to the issue being "negotiated through the press."
"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," said Griffin.
Negotiations between the two sides are expected to continue today.
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