By JOHN BERGEROTAssociated PressTEXAS (AP)T&,T’s parent company is planning to buy a majority stake in the grocery chain that has been embroiled in a massive recall effort after a worker accidentally spilled a raw egg in a can and caused a fire at the grocery store in the small town of Foodtown, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Dallas.
The announcement came on a conference call with analysts on Thursday, and was announced after a lengthy day of discussions with representatives from the companies largest shareholder, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and its two largest competitors, Kroger and Walmart.
The deal, which is expected to be announced as early as Friday, is expected be finalized in the second half of the year, said a T&s statement.
The company said the takeover is expected “to improve the competitiveness of our products and services across our portfolio and provide greater flexibility to meet the changing consumer needs and preferences of our customers.”
The company, which has been facing recall concerns for more than a year, is facing increased scrutiny from consumer advocates and lawmakers after it announced last month that it would pay nearly $100 million to settle a recall for a tainted chicken product.
The recall stemmed from a tainted can containing raw chicken from a T-Mobile store.
The company says it notified consumers on Sept. 1 that it had purchased the can.
The Food and Beverage Safety Board said in a report that the can had “serious microbial contamination” and that workers in a field were “unaware of the product in the can.”
The agency also found that T&T had failed to “make appropriate modifications to prevent contamination of its chicken products.”
T&T said in its statement that it has been in discussions with state regulators about the company’s takeover.
T&ts chief executive officer, Tom Hildebrand, said the company was “pleased to have a positive outcome and will continue to work closely with state and federal regulators to ensure the safety of our supply chain and the quality of our food.”
“The T<ains food supply chain is the safest in the industry and we are committed to providing the best products possible for our customers and the environment,” he said.
T <ains shares fell 4 cents to $30.40 in morning trading.
Kroger shares rose 2 cents to 77 cents.
Walmart shares dropped 2 cents, to $69.10.