Massachusetts and New Hampshire governors Deval Patrick and Maggie Hassan worked late on Sunday to broker a Market Basket deal between the warring Demoulas family factions. The move may help bring to a close the standoff between Arthur T. Demoulas and the company’s board of directors led by his cousin and long-time rival Arthur S. Demoulas.
“The parties have made real progress on the terms of the sale and operating control of the company, and the governors are encouraged that a resolution may be within reach,’’ Heather Nichols, a spokeswoman for Patrick, said in a statement.
The negotiations included the two feuding cousins at the center of the dispute, Arthur T. and Arthur S. Demoulas, as well as board chairman Keith Cowan, and Tina Albright, representing one of the shareholders, according to the statement. Neither Arthur S. nor Arthur T. offered a comment on the status of the negotiations.
Meanwhile, the company’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Monday. The Boston Globe reported the meeting was happening in its story on the governors’ involvement, and a Market Basket spokesperson told Boston.com that co-CEOs Felicia Thornton and James Gooch were in attendance. No further details about the meeting were immediately offered.
Shortly after 1 p.m. Monday, WGBH’s Anne Mostue reported that a board member told her the meeting was over. He declined further comment.
Breaking: just found #MarketBasket board member J. Terence Carleton leaving Pru. Says "meeting is over" and refused further comment.— Anne Mostue (@AnneMostue) August 18, 2014
Carleton is one of the representatives on the board for Arthur T.’s side of the family.
Arthur T. and his side of the family, who own 49.5 percent of Market Basket, are trying to buy out the remaning shares of the company, which are owned by Arthur S.’s side. The negotiations have come against a backdrop featuring protesting workers and boycotting customers who decry the June 23 firing of Arthur T. as CEO. Tensions between workers and Market Basket’s current board-appointed CEOs Felicia Thornton and James Gooch have heightened as negotiations between the two Demoulas sides have dragged on for weeks.
Patrick first dipped is pinky toe into the swamp that is the Market Basket standoff on August 8, saying he was available to try and help the two Arthurs reach a resolution. The following week, he dipped his big toe in, urging employees to return to work as negotiations continued. By working directly with the parties, the governor has effectively dived in to the gripping business dispute.
Patrick’s hesitance to speak prior to August 8, as well as his urging of employees to return to their posts without their demand—Arthur T. back in charge—already met, has touched off criticism among protesters. They especially note that his wife, Diane Patrick, works for a law firm that works with the independent members of the Market Basket board of directors, who are said to side with Arthur S. Patrick has said those ties would not play a role in how he approached the dispute.
Hassan first voiced support for Market Basket employees, and urged the company’s leadership to listen to their concerns, on July 21, three days after many Market Basket warehouse and office workers walked off the job.
Both sides of the Demoulas family have indicated the price of a deal is not at issue, but that terms by which to finance it have slowed negotiations.
Click here to read the full Boston Globe story.
An earlier version of this article misstated the employer of WGBH reporter Anne Mostue. We regret the error.