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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Cerberus Capital Management LP has made a bid for Matthews-based Harris Teeter Supermarkets.

The newspaper, citing a person familiar with the matter, said Cerberus hasn t decided if it would attempt to acquire the entire company or whether it would buy a major piece and leave some part in the hands of public shareholders.

Harris Teeter disclosed in February that two hedge funds had inquired about buying the company, and that it had retained J.P. Morgan as a financial adviser to explore its options.

A Harris Teeter spokeswoman on Wednesday morning referred a reporter to the February statement and did not comment further.

The Journal said it is possible Cerberus and Harris Teeter won t reach an agreement on a price for the company, or that other bidders will emerge. The newspaper said Cerberus envisions keeping the Harris Teeter management team and its North Carolina headquarters intact.

Harris Teeter operates more than 200 grocery stores, about two-thirds of them in North Carolina. The company has a market capitalization of more than $2.2 billion.

Earlier this year, Cerberus led an investment group that acquired 850 Albertsons, Jewel-Osco and Shaw s grocery stores from Supervalu. The investors paid $100 million worth of equity and assumed $3.2 billion of debt to acquire the stores.

Shares of Harris Teeter were up 3 percent at midday, trading at $47.28.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/26/4130136/wall-street-journal-cerberus-bids.html#storylink=cpy

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