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Morgan Stanley in Supermarket Deal

Morgan Stanley Private Equity has moved into the supermarket sector with an agreement to acquire Tops Markets from international supermarket operator Royal Ahold for $310 million (€218 million). The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

Ahold acquired Tops in 1991, and expanded the business outside of its original base in Buffalo, New York. Tops now runs 71 company-owned and five franchise supermarket grocery stores in New York and Pennsylvania.

In conjunction with the deal's close, former Ahold executive Frank Curci will join the company's board of directors and lead the ownership transition. Curci was previously Tops' chief executive from 2000 to 2003, but in May 2003 Curci resigned from Ahold after an audit revealed accounting irregularities at Tops for the year 2002.

At Private Equity Real Estate (reg. req.)

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