Tops Files Bid for Penn Traffic

WILLIAMSVILE, N.Y. — As expected, Tops Friendly Markets here Friday said it has filed a bid to acquire a majority of the assets of Penn Traffic Co., Syracuse, N.Y., out of bankruptcy. Terms were not disclosed, but Tops said the bid, in which it would purchase all 79 Penn Traffic stores, includes cash as well as reductions in unsecured claims that had been filed against Penn Traffic by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1 and C&S Wholesale Grocers.

WILLIAMSVILE, N.Y. — As expected, Tops Friendly Markets here Friday said it has filed a bid to acquire a majority of the assets of Penn Traffic Co., Syracuse, N.Y., out of bankruptcy.

In a filing with the bankruptcy court, Penn Traffic said the bid, in which Tops would purchase all 79 stores, includes $85 million in cash as well as reductions in unsecured claims that had been filed against Penn Traffic by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1 and C&S Wholesale Grocers.

Penn Traffic and Tops had reportedly pursued a merger a year ago, but the deal was never consummated.

“From the very beginning of our transition to a locally operated company, we have pledged to invest in the markets we serve, and to grow and strengthen our position as the largest grocery chain in the region,” said Frank Curci, Tops’ president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. “This new opportunity allows us to further fulfill that pledge.”

Tops said it plans to "keep as many jobs and operate as many stores" as it can. Tops, which was spun off by former parent Ahold to private equity in 2007, currently operates 71 supermarkets, mostly in western New York, and franchises another five locations. Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are acting as financial advisors to Tops in this transaction. Court action on the bid is expected to be taken today, Tops said.

A previous offer by Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper to buy 22 of Penn Traffic's stores for $54 million is also under consideration by the court, as well as a liquidation offer for the remaining stores.

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