Morgan Stanley Private Equity announced today that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of Tops Markets, LLC (Tops) for $310 million. Frank Curci was named Tops’ Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.
Morgan Stanley Private Equity will continue to operate Tops as an ongoing grocery store chain. All 10,000 store associates, field staff and Williamsville, New York-based corporate office staff will be retained. It is expected that approximately 100 merchandising, information technology and finance-related functions will be created in the Buffalo area as a result of the acquisition. Tops operates under the banners of Tops Markets and Martin’s Super Food Stores and is composed of 71 company-owned and five franchise supermarket grocery stores in Western New York, Mid-State New York, including Rochester, and Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Commenting on the announcement, Gary Matthews, Managing Director and Operating Partner, Morgan Stanley Private Equity said, “We are pleased to complete this transaction in a timely manner and to take ownership of such a well-regarded grocer. Frank Curci brings 25 years of supermarket experience to the role, most notably as the CEO of Tops until 2003. The enthusiasm of Tops’ associates to welcome Frank as their CEO has been terrific. That employee passion as well as Frank’s leadership abilities and extensive experience all underscore our belief that we can continue Tops’ tradition of outstanding service to customers and enhance its position as a leading supermarket in the region.”
Frank Curci commented, “Tops is a neighborhood grocer with a long and storied history in the region. Our associates understand the local and regional tastes of our customers and continually provide high levels of personal service. With Morgan Stanley Private Equity’s commitment to invest in and grow the business, I will work closely with the Tops management team and associates to ensure that Tops is the supermarket of choice.”
Mr. Curci most recently served as chief operating officer for Alabama-based Southern Family markets, a subsidiary of C&S Wholesale Grocers where he led the start-up of two chains emphasizing the neighborhood grocery store format. While at Ahold from 1995 to 2003, Mr. Curci was CEO of Tops, and held senior leadership positions at the BI-LO chain in South Carolina and Edwards Super Food stores on the East Coast. Mr. Curci also spent nine years at Mayfair Supermarkets, which operated as Foodtown in New Jersey. He earned an M.B.A and a B.A. from Rutgers University.
Tops was originally founded as a neighborhood grocery chain in the early 1960s in Buffalo, New York. In 1991, Koninklijke Ahold, N.V. (Ahold) acquired Tops and subsequently centralized the finance, information technology and merchandising into Giant Carlisle in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 2003. Today, Tops operates 41 stores and five franchises in the Buffalo area, 20 stores in the Rochester area and 10 stores in central region and southern tier of New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Morgan Stanley advised Morgan Stanley Private Equity in this transaction, which was previously announced on October 11. In addition, Paramax Corporation assisted Morgan Stanley Private Equity.
Morgan Stanley Private Equity, part of Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Merchant Banking Division, makes private equity and equity-related investments on a global basis. Morgan Stanley Private Equity utilizes Morgan Stanley’s extensive resources, including the Firm’s global franchise and relationships with leading corporates, management teams and financial sponsors, to source attractive opportunities for its investment funds. Morgan Stanley’s roots in private equity investing date back to 1985 with the Morgan Stanley Capital Partners private equity funds. To date, Morgan Stanley Private Equity and its predecessor funds have invested nearly $6.5 billion of equity across a broad spectrum of industries.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services. The Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals from more than 600 offices in 32 countries. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit www.morganstanley.com.
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