Last Friday, the Market Basket summer saga appeared closer to ending after an offer from Arthur T. Demoulas for over $1.5 billion to take over control of the company. The governors of New Hampshire and Massachusetts both expressed optimism that an agreement was near.
The development provided just the first hope the warring Demoulas family members might rescue the supermarket company worth billions of dollars that has been wracked by walkouts by employees and boycotts by customers.
Arthur S. Demoulas has not responded publicly to Friday’s bid, but Governor Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire and Governor Deval Patrick from Massachusetts said each had spoken to both sides and a deal could be reached as soon as Sunday.
The offer by Arthur T. removed a big stumbling block. It provided a private equity firm letter that said it was prepared to lend over $500 million that would help buy out the other half of the business. The firm’s identity has not been disclosed.
The money would replace financing from the seller that previously Arthur S. would have provided along with other opposing relatives to make the deal come to fruition.
The other part of the $1.5 billion would be in the form of a cash payment from Arthur T. as well as his sisters, and a mortgage loan that would be secured by real estate of the supermarket, said Arthur T.’s advisers.
Neither Arthur S. nor the board publicly made a comment Friday night. However, a person briefed on the deliberation of the board said there was a constructive dialogue underway with regard to the offer.
If there is no agreement reached soon, there could be catastrophic financial consequences for the chain of supermarkets.
The company is losing millions each day and faces the possibility of closing many stores and terminating a large percentage of the 25,000 employees it has in New England.
The board of directors at Market Basket was scheduled to meet on Saturday, but that was postponed after the latest offer was submitted. The delay will give the family more time to make final details to reach an agreement.