The saga of Market Basket has, in a matter of weeks, gone from intriguing to intense to just plain sad. All without ever answering the question of how a family can be simply incapable of cutting a deal that will leave everyone wealthy.
While multisided negotiations dragged on this weekend, the side of the family aligned with Arthur S. Demoulas issued another salvo — this one accusing Arthur T. Demoulas of negotiating in bad faith. It bad-mouths him while professing a willingness to sell their share of the company to him — an odd negotiating strategy.
But then, everything in the recent history of this family drama has been unlikely. Ever since Arthur T. Demoulas was fired as CEO, prompting weeks of employee protests and the near-shutdown of the chain, little has gone according to prediction.
By now the narrative is familiar to much of Massachusetts. Arthur S. Demoulas’s side of the family controls 50.5 percent of the stock. Arthur T. Demoulas, whose side controls the other 49.5 percent, has long run the business. The employees want Arthur T. to return, while many besieged customers would just be happy to see somebody, anybody, stock the shelves.
The Demoulas family drama, which dates back decades, has often had its amusing or bizarre twists. But the amusement value of watching an odd group of billionaires at war with one another is slowly giving way to the sobering prospect that their enmity might just sink the company.
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