Apollo Global close to buying US grocery retailer The Fresh Market for around $1.3 bn

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management is close to finalizing a deal to buy specialty grocery retailer The Fresh Market Inc, for more than $1.3 billion, Reuters today reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Apollo emerged highest bidder in auction for The Fresh Market with a cash offer of $28.50 per share, and is now finalising the terms of the deal, which may be announced on Monday, the report said.

Greensboro, North Carolina-based The Fresh Market had in October hired investment bank JP Morgan Chase to assist in a review of strategic options, including a sale of the company.

''This review may result in the Company continuing to pursue value-enhancing initiatives as a standalone company, capital structure optimization, or a sale of the Company or other business combination,'' the company had said in a statement in October last year.

Founded in 1982 by Ray and Beverly Berry, The Fresh Market is a chain of gourmet supermarkets.

It operates 178 stores in 27 states, located in the Southeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and has plans to expand throughout the country.

The company posted net income of $63 million last year on revenue of $1.75 billion.