Tesco’s Fresh & Easy declares bankruptcy to ease sale to Burkle

New York -- Tesco Plc’s Fresh & Easy chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as part of a plan to sell most of the U.S. chain’s 167 stores to a private equity firm led by billionaire Ron Burkle.

Fresh & Easy cited debt between $500 million and $1 billion in a court filing on Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. According to the documents, a unit of Tesco will end up with a 22.5% stake in the Yucaipa affiliate that acquires the supermarket chain.

The move “is simply the next step in the restructuring process” during the sale and will have “no impact” on customers’ shopping experience, Fresh & Easy said in a statement.

“It’s business as usual as we continue the transition to new ownership,” the company said.

The proposed sale to Yucaipa will serve as a leading bid in a court-supervised auction, which Fresh & Easy said it plans to hold on Nov. 11. The company asked the court to schedule a hearing on Nov. 13 to approve the sale.

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