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Shareholders file lawsuit over Harris Teeter acquisition

Attorneys representing Harris Teeter shareholders have filed a lawsuit seeking to block acquisition of the Matthews-based company by Cincinnati grocer The Kroger Co.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday afternoon in Mecklenburg County court, alleges that Harris Teeter failed to get a high enough premium to its closing price.

“The consideration shareholders will receive is inadequate and undervalues the company,” alleges the lawsuit, filed by Charlotte attorney Gary Jackson and the Washington, D.C. law firm Levi & Korsinsky.

Kroger agreed to buy the company for $49.38 per share in cash, a 1.8 percent premium to the stock’s closing price the day before. However, that price is about 34 percent higher than Harris Teeter’s stock was when rumors of a deal began to surface six months earlier.

The attorneys are asking a judge to block the transaction or award shareholders monetary damages and attorneys’ fees. Several law firms have announced investigations into the Harris Teeter acquisition, a common practice when corporate deals are announced.

Harris Teeter did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Portillo: 704-358-5041; Twitter @ESportillo
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