Billionaire Ron Burkle is rumored to be in talks to buy Tesco Plc’s unprofitable Fresh & Easy grocery chain in the United States. He plans to use the stores to relaunch the Wild Oats brand, according to a Bloomberg report. Burkle is the founder of Los Angeles-based private-equity company Yucaipa Cos.
Jim Keyes, the former CEO of 7-Eleven Inc. and Blockbuster Inc., owns the Wild Oats name and will serve as CEO of the new venture.
Tesco invested about $1.6 billion in the chain, which targeted urban areas with private-label food. The operations has lost money since it was started from scratch in 2007.
The Fresh & Easy chain holds about 200 stores in Nevada, California and Arizona.