Supermarket News is reporting that Harris Teeter has been outbid by a private equity firm in its quest to acquire Ukrops Supermarkets. This is an interesting development, as Harris Teeter seemed a natural fit to take over the now struggling, family-run grocer.
Additionally, private equity firms are not generally known for having a gentle touch, which would add additional uncertainty for Ukrop’s employees and their communities.
Harris Teeter, the un-named private equity firm, and other stakeholders should also consider contacting the Office of Thrift Supervision to see why Q2 financial information on Ukrops’ Supermarkets was withheld from First Market Bank’s recent federal filing. Ukrops, as a holding company for First Market Bank, is required to disclose financial metrics such as earnings and debt load in quarterly filings with its banking regulator. The Q1 filing showed that Ukrops was barely profitable and operating under a staggering debt load of nearly $100 million.
More on this as it develops.