A deal to sell majority ownership of Market Basket to former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas is close at hand, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for Patrick said the governor told reporters during a news conference that he had spoken to company board members and Demoulas, and that negotiations appeared to be going well.
Patrick said a return to normalcy is important for the grocery store chain, which for weeks has been devastated by shareholder infighting, employee protests and a customer boycott.
Market Basket, owned by Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based Demoulas Supermarkets Inc., has 71 stores in New England, including one in Biddeford. The chain employs 25,000 workers in three states, and reported sales in excess of $3.5 billion last year.
Patrick’s positive assessment of the negotiations to sell the company to Demoulas, whose family already owns a minority interest, appeared to be contradicted by a statement released Wednesday by some of the company’s board members.
“We have now gone five days since we offered a solution that would return everyone back to work to support the company including the former management team,” it said. “To date, we still have not received a response.”
Over the weekend, Demoulas issued a statement saying that the board’s sale offer was disingenuous in that it would place unrealistic conditions on the sale. Employees have said those conditions included leaving the existing board members in place even after they sell all their company shares to Demoulas.