TEWKSBURY, Mass. 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.
Arthur T. Demoulas said in a statement Wednesday that he and his side of the family want to buy the 50.5 percent of the company now controlled by relatives who backed his firing last month.
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“Our offer is a very full and fair one and should meet or exceed a seller’s expectations of the value of the company,” he said. “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.”
The amount of the offer was not disclosed, but a trade publication estimated the company’s value as high as $3.5 billion.
Demoulas was ousted by a family faction supporting his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas. Both are grandsons of the company’s founder and have feuded for decades.
The faction backing Arthur S. Demoulas did not make a public response to the offer.
The privately-owned Tewksbury, Massachusetts-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.
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.