Update [5:30 p.m.]:
The planned 6 p.m. Tuesday board meeting has been called off, according to a Market Basket spokesperson. The scenario is similar to the cancelation of Sunday night’s planned 10 p.m. meeting, which was called off a few hours before it happened. The board of directors is scheduling multiple meeting times and calling them off as they approach if shareholders are not at an agreement for a deal.
Update [8:30 p.m.]:
The Boston Globe reports the two sides are working “to iron out final details’’ of a deal. If the stakes weren’t high enough already, the Globe also says a contingency plan in the event the deal is not complete could lead to all but 10 of the company’s stores closing, as well as wide-scale employee terminations. The report does not name a deadline at which point those actions would be undertaken.
The Market Basket board of directors has a meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, multiple sources familiar with talks over a possible sale of the company told Boston.com.
The meeting could still be called off, the sources said. In recent days, the board has been setting aside possible times for meetings. The 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday is one of those timeslots. A planned meeting for Sunday was canceled, as the the two sides of the Demoulas family had not yet reached a deal to sell the company to Arthur T. Demoulas and his immediate family members.
One source previously told Boston.com the board would likely not meet unless shareholders had reached an agreement.
Kelli O’Hara of Channel 7 is also reporting the planned 6 p.m. meeting, and says a source tells her a deal is “very close.’’
The two sides continued to negotiate a possible Market Basket deal on Tuesday. Multiple sources indicated there was increased optimism on Tuesday, but it was not entirely clear whether a deal was close.
Arthur T.’s role during the period starting once an agreement is reached and through to the deal’s closure—a period that could last several weeks—has been a sticking point in negotiations in recent days.
Both sides have said for weeks that price is not an issue in reaching a deal. Arthur T. has offered a reported $1.5 billion to buy out the 50.5 percent of the company owned by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.
New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said in a joint statement last week that a deal could be reached by Sunday. That possibility has since come and gone. Hassan’s office told Boston.com Tuesday:
Governor Hassan continues to be in touch with the principals to encourage both sides to reach a constructive resolution, and she remains hopeful that an agreement will be reached to keep the dedicated workers employed and minimize the impact on customers and other affected businesses.
Patrick’s office has not responded to a request for comment on Tuesday.
While everybody awaits resolution, current management says it will not take action to replace workers who left their positions a few weeks after Arthur T. was fired as CEO. On social media, employees have expressed both frustration with the amount of time it is taking for the deal to be completed and hope that it will be reached soon. Stores have remained mostly empty in the past few days.
In other news Tuesday, an employee has also filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board against the company, claiming it has created a hostile workplace, according to The Boston Globe. Investigations into a charge can take between seven and 12 weeks, the Globe reports. One would think the situation will resolve itself—and thus, if the situation ends in worker’s favor, the charge would be withdrawn—by then. But then, few expected the standoff would last the nearly six weeks it already has.