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Arthur T. issues latest salvo, says Market Basket purchase terms are 'onerous'

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 10. 2014 8:29PM
Signs of support for Arthur T. Demoulas at Tuesday's rally in Tewksbury, Mass. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

A spokesperson for former Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas released a statement on Sunday saying his client’s offers to buy the company have been rejected by Class A shareholders.

According to the statement, Arthur T. Demoulas remains interested in purchasing the controlling shares of the company.

“Arthur T. Demoulas reaffirms his desire and good faith for completing the purchase of the 50.5 percent of DSM,” the statement reads. “Those terms include an offer at their asking price, at a valuation determined pre-crisis. 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.”

Arthur T. also expressed dismay at the way the family squabble has played out in the media.

“It was Arthur T. Demoulas’ hope and intent that this matter not be negotiated in the press,” the statement reads. “He does not believe that a war of press releases and statements is helpful to this very serious situation. 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.”

According to the spokesperson, discussions continued Sunday between Arthur T.’s representatives and representatives of the board and their advisers. The Boston Herald reported that late Saturday night, Market Basket shareholders aligned with majority owner Arthur S. Demoulas issued a statement saying they had repeatedly offered to sell the embattled grocery chain to Arthur T. Demoulas, and accused the ousted CEO of acting in bad faith and sabotaging the company. The statement added that they were left with no choice but to explore other options for a sale.

“Arthur T. Demoulas’ conduct to date, including his most recent public statement, continues to undermine Market Basket and the Class B shareholders (led by Arthur T.) have not indicated a willingness to engage in good-faith discussions for a sale,” the Class A shareholders said in the statement. “The Class B shareholders have given us no choice at this time but to consider all available options to sell our equity.”It has been widely reported that Hannaford is a potential suitor, but the company has yet to confirm that.

The Class A shareholders, who have been silent until now, said they are still willing to sell to Arthur T. for the price he proposed and have also offered to provide financing.

“Our proposal would permit Arthur T. Demoulas to return to work immediately to work corroboratively to stabilize the business on terms proposed by the independent directors of the Market Basket Board,” they said. “Our proposal, made last week and reiterated throughout this week, has not been accepted.”

The directors on Friday offered to have Arthur T. return, but not as CEO, prompting his spokeswoman to accuse the board of trying to “stabilize the company, while they consider selling it to another bidder.” On Saturday, the three directors issued a statement accusing Arthur T. Demoulas of holding customers and employees hostage.

“Business negotiations should not prevent our associates from earning a living or our customers from buying groceries,” the directors said. “It is wrong to hold everyone hostage to gain a negotiation advantage.”

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