BOSTON (CBS) – Sources tell WBZ-TV the Market Basket board of directors met briefly Wednesday afternoon and may meet again Wednesday night as it considers whether to sell to ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.
It has been 66 days since Demoulas was fired and 41 days since employees began protesting his ouster in a walkout supported by a customer boycott.
Market Basket employees protesting at the supermarket chain’s Tewksbury headquarters Wednesday remained hopeful that a deal was close. They even had a celebration cake at the ready.
“I have to believe that we’re extremely close and it’s just a few minor details that they’re trying to iron out and we’ll be up and running,” said George Banakos, a 44-year Market Basket employee.
Negotiators in the Market Basket dispute are reportedly working out the final details of a deal to sell the supermarket chain to Arthur T. Demoulas for more than $1.5 billion.
The board met for a short time about 2:00 Wednesday afternoon and may huddle again at 9:30 Wednesday night.
According to the Boston Globe, Demoulas and his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas are close to completing an agreement, but lawyers for the side “were still going back and forth over several details late Tuesday.”
Market Basket has lost millions of dollars since employees walked off the job July 18.
Arthur T. is offering to buy shares of Market Basket owned by Arthur S. and his side of the family, giving him complete control of the company.
If no deal is reached, the Globe reported that the board of directors has a contingency plan that would shut down 61 of Market Basket’s 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine and nearly all of its employees would be laid off.
Not surprisingly, that prospect did not sit well with protesting workers.
“My answer to that would be ‘Gov. Patrick and Gov. Hassan, how would you feel about 6,000 full-time employees going to file for unemployment tomorrow?’,” said employee walkout organizer Steve Paulenka.
The governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire have gotten involved in the standoff and last Friday said a resolution was imminent.
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