Marsh Supermarkets, at one time a leading Midwest supermarket chain based in IN, has accepted bids at auction for 26 of its remaining 44 stores. Marsh's pharmacy customers have been referred to nearby CVS locations.
Kroger and Fresh Encounters have said in court documents that it would proceed with the acquisition only if the restriction is removed.
The other bidder is a corporation called Generative Growth II, which owns Fresh Encounter. The sale is valued at $8 million.
Fresh Encounter will acquire stores in New Palestine; Marion; Indianapolis (2 stores: Fox Road and New Jersey Street); Columbus; Hartford City; Elwood; Tipton; Pendleton; Richmond and Greenberg, Ind.; as well as stores in Troy; Van Wert; Middletown and Eaton, Ohio.
Topvalco, a subsidiary of Kroger, would assume 11 Marsh leases in Indiana: Bloomington (2 stores), Brownsburg, Zionsville (2 stores), Greenwood, Muncie (2 stores), Indianapolis (W. Michigan Street) and Fishers.
Marsh is selling off the stores after closing 19 locations in May and filing to reorganize under the protection of bankruptcy.
If the judge signs off on the deal, it would appear that Fresh Encounter will buy the 15 stores for a song.
The two companies want the option of opening pharmacies when they rebrand the 26 stores they've offered to buy. One possible obstacle to the sale is an objection by CVS Health, which purchased the pharmacy accounts from Marsh in April. Further, it asserted that even if the condition did apply to buyers, the language was "unenforceable under the bankruptcy code".