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Fresh & Easy Selling To Billionaire Ron Burkle, 50 Stores To Close

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Ron Burkle's appetite for LA real estate knows no bounds. The same supermarket tycoon and former Bill Clinton bestie who saved Frank Lloyd Wright's crumbling Ennis House is now swooping in to pick up Tesco's failed entry into the US grocery market. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain is being sold to Burkle's Yucaipa Cos. for an undisclosed amount, reports the LA Times. The British retailer never turned a profit on its US venture, taking a write-off of $1.8 billion. They announced last year that they'd likely pull out of the US market, but the fate of the existing stores has been unknown. Now we know: of the remaining 200 locations, 150 stores will be sold to Yucaipa and 4,000 employees will be transferred as part of the deal. The other 50 stores will close, according to the BBC. If Yucaipa is able to turn the chain around, Tesco has an option to buy a stake. Yucaipa intends to close the deal in the next three months, and apparently it's business as usual for most stores. Still unclear: will Fresh & Easy still be the best source of McVitie's digestives and spotted dick in the Southland? --Marissa Gluck
· Ron Burkle's Yucaipa buying Fresh & Easy stores from Tesco [LAT]
· The Fresh & Easy Files [Curbed LA]