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Deal reached to sell supermarket chain to Arthur T.

Protesters clasp hands at a rally outside Market Basket in Tewksbury, Mass., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Thousands of Market Basket supermarket employees and their supporters are calling for the reinstatement of their fired CEO, even as the company began a three-day job fair to replace employees who have refused to work during a revolt that is costing the supermarket chain millions. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Protesters clasp hands at a rally outside Market Basket in Tewksbury, Mass., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Thousands of Market Basket supermarket employees and their supporters are calling for the reinstatement of their fired CEO, even as the company began a three-day job fair to replace employees who have refused to work during a revolt that is costing the supermarket chain millions. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

A New England supermarket chain that has been in turmoil for weeks over a workers’ revolt and customer boycott has announced that the former CEO will buy a majority stake in the business.

Market Basket said in a statement late last night that former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas would be returning to the company and that he and his management team would handle day-to-day operations while the purchase is completed.

Arthur T. was ousted in June by a board of directors controlled by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, causing workers to stage protests. Hundreds of warehouse workers and drivers refused to deliver food to the chain’s stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, leading to empty shelves and tens of millions in lost revenue.

In a joint statement last night, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said, “We are delighted that the parties have reached agreement on terms of sale and resolution of operating authority, so that employees can return to work and customers will once again be able to rely on these stores to meet their needs.”

The uproar over Arthur T.’s firing prompted massive protest rallies outside the company’s Tewksbury headquarters. After the company fired eight supervisors who helped organize the revolt, public support for the workers intensified.

Thousands of customers, as well as more than 160 mayors and legislators in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, signed petitions agreeing to boycott Market Basket. The chain has about 25,000 employees and 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. The stores, usually jam-packed with shoppers attracted by the chain’s low prices, have had only a trickle of customers for weeks.

Business analysts said the worker revolt was remarkable at a family-owned, non-union company, particularly because the workers were not seeking higher wages or better benefits, but instead were calling for the return of their CEO. The workers credit Arthur T. for treating them like family, keeping prices low and leading the company’s success.

Infighting in the Demoulas family has gone on for decades, but this was the first time the family’s squabble had such a deep impact on Market Basket stores.

The company’s new co-CEOs repeatedly urged employees to return to work, but they refused and insisted on the reinstatement of Arthur T.

Arthur T. had offered to buy the 50.5 percent of the company owned by his cousin and other relatives on his side of the family. Demoulas had said Friday he had submitted his final bid to buy out his rivals’ share in the New England company Aug. 21. Store managers and employees have expressed confidence since that a deal was imminent.

Market Basket stores have long been a fixture in New England. The late Arthur Demoulas, a Greek immigrant who was the grandfather of Arthur T. and Arthur S., opened the first store in Lowell nearly a century ago. Over the years, Market Basket became a favorite of frugal food shoppers. Today, the chain has 71 stores and about 25,000 employees.

Legacy Comments5

Arthur S got what he wanted, to loot the company of the $300 million of operating cash. That's one family that may be rich, but when an entire company refuses to work for you, it speaks volumes about their character. Or lack thereof.

Hooray! One win against corporate raiders.

Why would Artie T agree to let those two ringers hang around at all, let alone "for several months"? And why has Artie T been relegated to handling just the "day-to-day operations"? Does that mean "they", and not Arthur t, will continue to call the shots affecting the direction of the corporation? Is this "deal" really a wolf in sheep's clothing? I see a Bad Moon Rising here. Hold your cards, ladies, we may NOT have a bingo.

Without the help and cooperation from the public [customers] the outcome would likely have been much different. People should realize that they can make a difference in issues that matter - [think no. pass] Congratulations to all who put their futures on the line for what they knew was right. Customers appreciate and support you.

An interesting comparison; when they start building Northern Pass, all of you who are against it, turn off your lights, and leave them off until Northern Pass is dismantled.

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