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    The Pantry to Offer 5 Million Shares

    1.5 million offered by underwriters in connection with forward sale agreement.

    SANFORD, N.C. -- Sanford-based convenience store operator The Pantry Inc. said Monday that it plans to offer 5 million common shares to the public, including 1.5 million shares being offered by underwriters in connection with a forward sale agreement with Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., an affiliate of Merrill Lynch, reported the Associated Press.

    The remaining 3.5 million shares are being offered by investment funds affiliated with Freeman Spogli & Co., which also has granted an option to the underwriters to purchase up to an additional 750,000 shares to cover over-allotments, if any.

    The company said the forward sale agreement will settle within 12 months, and proceeds will be used to finance potential acquisitions and for general corporate purposes.

    Merrill Lynch & Co. is serving as sole book-running manager for the offering, with Goldman, Sachs & Co. acting as co-lead manager. William Blair & Co., Jefferies & Co. and Morgan Keegan & Co. are serving as co-managers.

    Shares of The Pantry were down nearly 4 percent, or 99 cents, at $24.84 in morning trading on the Nasdaq National Market.

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