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Mass., NH Governors Optimistic Market Basket On Brink Of Sale To Arthur T. Demoulas

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BOSTON (CBS) – The governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire issued a joint statement Friday saying they are optimistic a deal will be reached this weekend to sell the company to Arthur T. Demoulas.

“In briefings today, all parties report that they are optimistic that an agreement will be reached to sell the company to Arthur T. Demoulas and to restore him to operating authority on an interim basis until the sale closes,” reads the statement from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan.

Soon after that statement was released, Demoulas’s spokesperson issued another statement.

“Having submitted his final bid on Thursday and heard the statement of the Governors this evening, Arthur T. Demoulas expects that this purchase can and should be finalized immediately.  The bid remains at full price and its terms are extremely favorable to the sellers. There is nothing that stands in the way of getting this done this weekend.  It’s time to complete this deal so we can all get back to doing what we love doing, and that is running Market Basket,” the statement said.

The governors said they are hopeful stores could reopen early next week.

Company executives say they can have its 71 stores 90-percent restocked within three days, according to WBZ-TV. Once Demoulas returned to his post, administrative and warehouse staff would return to their jobs and grocery orders would be place with longtime suppliers, according to WBZ-TV. Vendors from out of state would fill any orders that could not be filled by the company’s regular vendors.

Demoulas was fired in June by a board controlled by his rival cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.

The power struggle has led to protests by thousands of employees and a boycott by customers for the past five weeks, leading to a steep drop in sales at the chain with 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

The two governors have been trying to broker a deal to bring the standoff to an end, with hopes of having an agreement by the end of this week.

The joint statement Friday by Hassan and Patrick further states: “Subject to reducing their agreement in principle to writing by Sunday, the Board will forestall taking adverse employment action against the employees who have abandoned their jobs.  We are hopeful that employees will return to work, and the stores will reopen, early next week.”

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