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Fresh Market jumps after speculation that Kroger will buy chain

The Fresh Market Inc., which said in October that it was considering a sale of the company, rose as much as 23 percent on a report that Kroger Co. wants to acquire the supermarket chain.
The Fresh Market Inc., which said in October that it was considering a sale of the company, rose as much as 23 percent on a report that Kroger Co. wants to acquire the supermarket chain.

The Fresh Market Inc., which said in October that it was considering a sale of the company, rose as much as 23 percent Thursday on a report that Kroger Co. wants to acquire the supermarket chain.

A deal for Greensboro-based Fresh Market, which has six locations in the greater Charlotte area, would be Kroger’s latest venture into North Carolina. In 2014, the Cincinnati-based chain bought Matthews-based Harris Teeter.

Kroger is in the second round of an auction for Fresh Market, according to Reuters, which cited unidentified people familiar with the situation. Other companies, including private equity firms Apollo Global Management LLC, KKR & Co. and TPG Capital, are part of the auction, the news service reported.

Shares of Fresh Market rose as high as $22.78 in the wake of the report, marking the biggest intraday increase since November 2010. The shares slipped slightly by Thursday’s close, finishing the day up 22 percent at $22.68.

Before the rally, the stock had declined 21 percent this year.

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the U.S., declined to comment to Bloomberg News about the report. Fresh Market didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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