Fresh Market's Stock Soars After Report Of Interest From Kroger, Private-equity Firms

By Tomi KilgoreMarketWatch Pulse

Fresh Market Inc.'s stock soared 14% in active afternoon trade, after Reuters reported that supermarket chain Kroger Co. was seeking to acquire the company. Volume was about 3 million shares at 2:20 p.m. ET, or nearly five times the full-day average over the past 30 days, according to FactSet. The surge comes about 2 1/2 weeks after the stock closed at a record low of $18.46, on Jan. 25. Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Kroger is in the second round of an auction, and is competing with other bidders such as private-equity firms Apollo Global Management LLC and KKR & Co. L.P. . Kroger's stock slipped 0.8% in afternoon trade. In October, Fresh Market said it would conduct a strategic review of its business, that could lead to a potential sale of the company. The stock was still down 42% over the past 12 months, while while Kroger shares were up 2.1% and the S&P 500 had lost 12%.

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