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Three Market Basket directors ask Arthur T. to return to help

Three Market Basket directors said Friday they had asked former president Arthur T. Demoulas and his management team to return to the grocery store chain and help restore the business that has been battered by employee walkouts and customer boycotts.

But the directors said in a statement that their proposal was not an offer to put the former president back in charge of the company. A spokeswoman for Arthur T. Demoulas called the announcement by the directors “disingenuous.”

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The three directors, who sit on a seven-member board, said they had been working around the clock for the past week, searching for ways to “begin to address the tangible harm that has been visited on so many by so few.”

They said their offer “would allow [Demoulas] and his entire former management team, including all individuals who resigned or were dismissed, to assist the company's return to normal business operations and people to get back to their jobs and lives.”

The directors said Arthur T. Demoulas could continue to pursue his bid to buy the entire company. They said their proposal “would not place Mr. Demoulas in control of the company during this interim period, but would instead retain the current management.

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The spokeswoman for Arthur T. Demoulas said the former president had been “working feverishly” to buy the company since he was fired in June and the new proposal was an effort to derail his efforts.

“This is an attempt to have him stabilize the company, while they consider selling it to another bidder. This is far too serious a situation for these games and attempts at window dressing,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

She said that on three occasions, as recently as Thursday, Demoulas had offered “to try to bring back his entire management team and stabilize the company. Each offer was rejected.”

Ownership of the Market Basket business is divided between two rival factions of the Demoulas family. Arthur T. Demoulas and family members supporting him own 49.5 percent. Cousin Arthur S. Demoulas and other relatives who back him own 50.5 percent.

Read the entire statement from the three directors here.

Steven Syre is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at syre@globe.com.
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