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ON DEMAND: THIS AMERICAN LIFE tribute to the 10 killed in the Tops Market shootings (avail. Sunday after 8pm)

Ahold Sells Tops Markets to Morgan Stanley Private Equity

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The Tops Supermarket chain has been sold.

Parent company Ahold announced Thursday morning that Tops will be acquired by Morgan Stanley Private Equity for $310 million. The sale is expected to close later this quarter.

Tops employees 10,000 people at stores across New York and in northwestern Pennsylvania. Ahold announced plans to sell Tops in November 2006. Tops stores lead the region in market share.

The union representing Tops employees got wind of the sale Wednesday. Officials with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local One say they're hoping the new owners will invest in improving Tops' position in the Western New York market.

Morgan Stanley Private Equity officials say they will continue to operate with the same staff. It's expected that former Tops CEO Frank Curci will oversee the transition and will serve as a member of the Tops board.