TEWKSBURY (CBS/AP) — The former chief executive of the Market Basket supermarket chain whose ouster has led to employee protests, customer boycotts and empty shelves wants to buy the entire company.
Daily Talker: Your Thoughts On Demoulas Offer
Arthur T. Demoulas said in a statement released Thursday morning that he and his side of the family want to buy the portion of the company now controlled by relatives who backed his firing last month.
"The Arthur T. Demoulas side of the family has made an offer to buy the 50.5% of shares in Demoulas Market Basket Supermarkets we do not own. We believe that our offer is a very full and fair one and should meet or exceed a seller's expectations of the value of the Company," the statement read.
"We care deeply about Market Basket and all of our Associates and we want to work together to return the company to its successful model for serving our loyal customers. Those who received the offer need to consider the matter, so we are not in a position to comment further at this time."
The amount of the offer was not disclosed, but a trade publication estimated the company's value as high as $3.5 billion.
"So by him doing this this morning, that just lifted up 25,000 employees," Reading store manager Al Davis told WBZ-TV.
Hugh Drummond, a spokesman for the current Market Basket leadership, told WBZ-TV they had no comment on the offer.
Demoulas was fired last month by a family faction supporting his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.
Both are grandsons of the company's founder and have been locked in a decades-long feud.
The Tewksbury-based chain has 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
Arthur T. Demoulas' ouster has led to rallies attended by thousands of employees and their supporters at company headquarters demanding his reinstatement. Many walked off the job to attend. Eight longtime employees have been fired for helping organize the protests.
Another rally is scheduled for Friday in Tewksbury. The Board of Directors is expected to meet that afternoon in the Prudential Center in Boston.
Business has dropped off dramatically as store shelves have emptied and not been replenished by deliveries.
Customers have stopped shopping at Market Basket stores, known for their rock bottom prices, either because of the limited selection or as a form of protest. Many customers have taken to taping their receipts from competitors on Market Basket store doors.
The new co-CEOs, Jim Gooch and Felicia Thornton, assured workers in a statement this week that they are not planning drastic changes in the way the company is operated, and urged employees to return to work.
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