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The Buffalo News reports that western New York-based Tops Friendly Markets has gone through a leveraged buyout, being acquired by six members of its top management, including CEO Frank Curci.

The story notes that Curci was the one who brokered the deal that allowed Morgan Stanley to acquire Tops from Royal Ahold in 2007.

"This transaction is the next natural step in the process of bringing Tops back to a locally owned and operated company,” Curci, said in a prepared statement. “This is the result of a process that started nearly six years ago when Tops was carved out from Ahold and partnered with Morgan Stanley Private Equity. Their financial and business-building expertise, together with a return to local operations and management, has allowed us to rebuild our infrastructure, make targeted acquisitions and double the size of the company over the last six years.”

Other members of the buyout group are Kevin Darrington, Tops' COO; Richard Mills, the CFO; John Persons, senior vice president of operations; Jack Barrett, senior vice president for human resources; and Lynne Burgess, senior vice president and general counsel.
KC's View:
As usual in such cases, I take my guidance from Burt Flickinger III, managing director at Strategic Resource Group, who seems to think that this is a good thing - that Morgan Stanley was looking to end its participation, that it puts the chain under local control, and is unlikely to affect the daily conduct of business other than the possible lowering of prices, since Morgan Stanley won't be taking its cut off the top.