Yucaipa Faces No Competition for Fresh & Easy

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Yucaipa Faces No Competition for Fresh & Easy


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Tesco plc's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain canceled its proposed auction and will seek bankruptcy court approval to sell just about all of its assets to an affiliate of The Yucaipa Cos. after it received no competing bids, according to published reports.

Yucaipa has agreed to take over roughly 150 of Fresh & Easy's 167 stores in the western United States, along with its production facility in Riverside, Calif., where the company produces its private label items.

According to court filings, Fresh & Easy's deal with Yucaipa stipulates that a Tesco affiliate would lend the Yucaipa unit $120 million to help finance the acquisition. Tesco would get warrants to buy as much as 10 percent of the reorganized chain’s equity, while Fresh & Easy would get a 22.5-percent stake.

Ron Burkle, managing partner of Yucaipa, has said he plans on continuing to build Fresh & Easy into a "next-generation convenience retail experience," providing busy consumers with more local and healthy access for their daily needs.

El Segundo-based Fresh & Easy filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 30.