It's official: The Fresh Market exploring sale

The Fresh Market announced it is officially conducting a strategic financial review of its business with an eye to sell.

The Fresh Market said in a statement that the review may result in the continued pursuit of "value-enhancing initiatives as a stand-alone company, capital structure optimization, or a sale of the company or other business combination. There can be no assurance that this strategic and financial review will result in any specific action."

The Greensboro, North Carolina-based grocer named Rick Anicetti as president and CEO in September. He previously served as president and CEO of Food Lion, a subsidiary of Delhaize Group. At that time, Rich Noll, lead independent director, said: "Rick will be the first CEO hired from outside the company, and we believe that he has the right combination of strategic leadership and personnel skills to lead The Fresh Market into a new phase of growth and build value for our stockholders in the coming years."

"Since joining the company, Rick and his team have been working to identify and execute on opportunities to improve the company's sales growth and to drive operational efficiencies," Noll said. "The board of directors has determined, consistent with its obligations to the company and its stockholders and together with the work being done by management, that it is also prudent to conduct a strategic and financial review of the business, focusing on the company's and its stockholders' best interests."

FierceRetail reported yesterday that Fresh Market Chairman Ray Berry is looking for a buyout from private equity firms. Berry owns 4.1 percent of the company and may team up with his son-in-law, Michael Barry, who holds a 6.4 percent share of the publicly-traded company.

The Fresh Market has 178 stores in 27 states, and had been adding leadership and expanding locations.

For more:
-See this Fresh Market press release

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