Virtually five years to the day after unveiling plans to go private, The Fresh Market has made a preliminary filing for an initial public offering (IPO).
Fresh Market Holdings Inc., the parent company of The Fresh Market, said late Friday that has submitted an S-1 draft registration statement for a proposed IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The filing was confidential. However, the Greensboro, N.C.-based specialty grocer said the number of common shares in the offering and the price range have yet to be determined.
“The Fresh Market expects to use the proceeds of the offering for general corporate purposes, which may include the repayment of indebtedness,” The Fresh Market stated. “The initial public offering is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”
Currently, The Fresh Market operates 159 stores in 22 states.
New York-based Apollo Global Management and The Fresh Market announced on March 14, 2016, that the retailer agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of the private equity firm for $28.50 per share in cash, totaling about $1.36 billion. The Fresh Market founder and chairman Ray Berry and his son Brett Berry, who together owned 9.8% of the chain’s outstanding shares, agreed to roll over the vast majority of their holdings in the transaction with Apollo. At the time, The Fresh Market operated 186 stores in 27 states, and the deal was completed in April 2016.
Founded in 1982, The Fresh Market had gone public via a $290 million IPO in November 2010, when the company had 100 stores in 20 states.
In March 2020, former Sobeys executive Jason Potter joined The Fresh Market as president and CEO, taking over from Larry Appel, who resigned. Appel had served as the natural and organic grocer’s CEO since September 2017.
Potter has been charged with leading a turnaround at the natural and organic grocer, which has made a series of store closings in recent years as the company refocused expansion of its fresh gourmet concept and sharper competition from brick-and-mortar and online players bit into sales. Appel also had come to The Fresh Market amid a transformation effort, initiated by predecessor Rick Anicetti, who resigned in July 2017.
After Potter took the helm as CEO, The Fresh Market made a number of executive appointments in 2020, including Kevin Miller as chief marketing officer in May; Brian Johnson as senior vice president of store operations in July; Jim Heaney as chief financial officer in September; and Carlos Clark as senior VP, general counsel and corporate secretary in December. Also in December, The Fresh Market named Heather Berger and Sue Gove as new directors, which — with the resignation of Itai Wallach — extended the board from six to seven members.