Marsh Supermarkets Seeking New Buyer: Report

Editor's Note: In the subject line of this morning's daily news, we incorrectly referenced "Meijer on the Block" in regard to a report about the possible sale of Marsh Supermarkets. We regret the error.

Three years after acquiring Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets, Sun Capital Partners is reportedly seeking to put the restructured regional supermarket chain on the block, according to published reports.

Sun paid $88 million cash and assumed $237 million in debt when it bought the chain in 2006 — a time when Marsh was losing money and market share. After acquiring Marsh, the Boca Raton, Fla.-based investment banker parent slashed $70 million in overhead and sold off $80 million of real estate assets while reinvesting in productive sites, which has since enabled the chain to become more productive and profitable.

With Sun at the helm, Marsh also spun off non-grocery businesses, including a caterer, florist and convenience-store chain. The food retailer used proceeds to pay down debt and plow $60 million into the renovation of 80 percent of its roughly 100 stores.

Marsh’s debt now stands at $60 million, down $177 million since the purchase, Marsh chairman, CEO and president Frank Lazaran told the Indianapolis Business. The Midwest grocer is on track to post sales of $1.1 billion this year, down from the $1.3 billion in grocery sales the company reported in its last year as a public company.

While Marsh spokeswoman Connie Gardner was quoted in local reports as saying that the grocer “doesn’t report on rumor or speculation,” she noted that the retailer turned a profit in 2008.
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