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Billionaire Ron Burkle Reportedly Eyes Fresh & Easy Acquisition

June 13, 2013

Tesco’s planned divestiture of its struggling Fresh & Easy retail brand in the U.S. may be coming to fruition, as multiple reports claim billionaire investor Ron Burkle is in talks with Tesco toward an acquisition. Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg News asserted that Burkle, who founded private equity firm Yucaipa, is planning to relaunch Fresh & Easy under the defunct Wild Oats brand. Former 7-Eleven and Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes, who owns the Wild Oats trademark, would serve as CEO of the revamped grocery chain.

Neither Tesco nor Yucaipa have commented on the rumored Burkle talks, but Tesco said earlier this month that it was in advanced negotiations with a number of parties aiming to acquire Fresh & Easy in its entirety. In March, reports surfaced that competitors Aldi and Trader Joe’s were also among those interested in Fresh & Easy, which operates 165 stores in California and 35 across Nevada and Arizona and is known for its expansive wine offering, which includes more than 450 labels.

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