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    Sun Capital Closes Marsh Acquisition

    Marsh gets new president and CEO, destiny of company's c-stores remains unknown.

    FISHER, Ind. -- The private investment firm Sun Capital completed the acquisition of Marsh Supermarkets through its affiliate MSH Supermarkets, Inc. The purchase, which cost Sun Capital $325 million, also brings an end to Don Marsh's position as chairman and chief executive as supermarket veteran Frank Lazaran steps in to take over.

    "This transaction is a great opportunity for our shareholders, our employees and the future of Marsh Supermarkets," said Marsh, outgoing chairman and CEO. "For 75 years, Marsh has been an industry leader with an unwavering commitment to excellence in customer service and providing quality food products at reasonable prices. We are confident that Sun Capital's financial resources and deep retail operating experience will provide Marsh with the opportunity and support to grow and further enhance this outstanding franchise."

    Marsh continued, "I am also pleased that Frank Lazaran, who brings a wealth of regional supermarket operating experience to Marsh, will be leading this company in its next phase of growth."

    Lazaran has more than 30 years of supermarket experience under his belt, with senior management positions within Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Ralphs Grocery Co. and Randalls Food Markets, Inc., a division of Safeway and affiliate to Tom Thumb stores.

    "Marsh Supermarkets is an incredible franchise and I look forward to continuing to deliver to our loyal customers the same excellent service for which Marsh is known," said Lazaran. "To the customers of Marsh, I pledge that we will remain committed to our communities and to maintaining our reputation for superior service and fresh and high quality food products at reasonable prices."

    There has been no answer from the company about rumors that it will break up the company's assets. "Nobody expects Sun Capital to operate them as supermarkets in the long-term," David Livingston, a Milwaukee-based supermarket industry expert, told the Star Press.

    "It doesn't make any sense, considering the overwhelming competition and the new owner's lack of history in the business." He added, "Does it make sense for them to operate supermarkets going up against Kroger, Wal-Mart and Meijer? No."

    He also told the newspaper that certain assets, including the 154-store Village Pantry convenience chain, would be sold off. CSNews Online did not receive a response from Sun Capital to verify this by press time.

    Marsh Supermarkets, Inc. operates 68 Marsh supermarkets, 38 LoBill Foods stores, eight O'Malia Food Markets, 154 Village Pantry convenience stores, and two Arthur's Fresh Market stores. The Company also operates Crystal Food Services, an upscale catering, cafeteria and restaurant management company and Primo Banquet Catering and Conference Centers, Floral Fashions and McNamara Florist.

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