Market Basket’s board of directors was scheduled to meet again late Tuesday night to hash out the details of a proposed sale to its former CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, The Boston Globe reported.
But mydemoulas.net, a website operated by Market Basket employees and their supporters, contradicted that report on its Twitter feed, saying no Tuesday meeting had been scheduled.
The Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based supermarket chain, which owns 71 stores in New England, including one in Biddeford, has been in crisis for weeks following the board’s June 22 ouster of Demoulas, whose family owns 49.5 percent of the company. He has offered to buy the remaining 50.5 percent for $1.5 billion.
A rival faction of the Demoulas family controlled by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas has stated its willingness to sell its controlling interest in Demoulas Super Markets Inc. to Arthur T., but so far a deal has not been finalized.
A board meeting Monday night did not result in a deal, nor did deliberations over the weekend that were encouraged by the governors of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Sources have told the Globe that sticking points include whether the family members selling their shares to Arthur T. would retain some level of representation on the board.
The former CEO has described such conditions as unrealistic and unacceptable.
Analysts believe a sale to Arthur T. would revive the business and bring former employees and customers back to the company. The company employs 25,000 and reported revenue in excess of $3.5 billion last year.
Market Basket employees began walking off the job six weeks ago in protest of Arthur T.’s ouster, including delivery drivers who normally stock the stores with highly perishable goods. As a result, the stores’ produce, baked goods and meat aisles have been nearly empty for weeks.
Thousands of employees have participated in protests, and the vast majority of customers have boycotted stores. As a result, the chain is losing millions of dollars each day, according to analysts.
Demoulas is a hero to many employees. Stories of his generosity, sincerity and compassion abound within the company. But his rivals on the board have said in court documents that he abused his authority as CEO to pursue a rapid-expansion strategy that the majority of board members did not support.
The internal dispute at Market Basket goes back decades but came to a head in 2013, when the Demoulas cousins clashed over the company’s future business strategy. Arthur T. wanted to use its cash reserves to open more stores, while Arthur S. insisted that the money be paid out in dividends to the family-owned company’s shareholders.
The dispute ended up in court, where Arthur S. won a judgment to distribute $300 million to the shareholders.