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The Wall Street Journal reports that the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) “is sounding out restructuring advisers about reworking its debt-heavy balance sheet, said people familiar with the matter.”

According to the story, A&P “started contacting Wall Street restructuring shops over the summer for ideas on how to address some $1 billion in debt, these people said. Investment banks in discussions with A&P include Lazard Ltd., Rothschild Inc. and Moelis & Co., the people said. The talks have focused in part on roughly $157 million in convertible bonds due June 15, the grocer's biggest near-term maturity. A&P hasn't yet decided whether to hire any restructuring practices, these people said.”

One possibility, the story notes, is that A&P could go to Ron Burkle, who already owns 27 percent of the company, for additional financing.

A&P has been reeling from poor financial numbers, and has had four CEOs in the last year.
KC's View:
Some of you think that I have been too tough on A&P, and have suggested that this could end up being the retailer’s finest hour. (Whatever you’re smoking, it must be pretty good stuff.)

But I’m listening, so I won;t be negative this morning. I will, however, turn this space over to one of the smartest guys in the food business, Burt P. Flickinger III, who tells the Journal:

"By the time these executives learn the market, they leave ... They don't know the plays. And their competitors are blitzing and burying them."