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Sources at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets - the western US small-store chain that Yucaipa recently agreed to take off Tesco's hands, ending a six-year experiment in which the British company could not seem to solve the challenge of marketing to Americans - tell MNB that headquarters employees yesterday were introduced to Jim Keyes, the former CEO of 7-Eleven, who now will run the chain.

As previously reported here on MNB, Tesco essentially is paying Yucaipa $235 million (US) to get rid of Fresh & Easy, which has been a consistent and annoying drain on its profits.

There have been reports that Yucaipa might use Fresh & Easy as a vehicle to revive the Wild Oats brand, but at this point it is all speculation.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, "Yucaipa will acquire more than 150 of Fresh & Easy’s near 200 stores as well as distribution and production facilities ... Those outlets not included in the transaction will be closed in the coming weeks, though Tesco reportedly can continue to try to sell them to other companies."

Reports say that if Yucaipa is able to turn Fresh & Easy around, Tesco will have the right to buy into the venture.
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