Specialty grocer The Fresh Market, which operates 186 stores in 27 states, says it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management for approximately $1.36 billion. The announcement dismisses rumors that circulated earlier this year that the Greensboro, North Carolina-based company likely would be purchased by The Kroger Co. It also will take The Fresh Market, which went public in November 2010, private.

The $28.50 per share all-cash offer by Apollo represents a premium of approximately 24 percent over The Fresh Market’s closing share price on March 11 and a premium of approximately 53 percent over the Feb. 10, closing share price, the day prior to press speculation regarding a potential transaction.

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