One of the largest organic grocery stores was just acquired for $1.3 billion, and it's plotting an empire

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Apollo to Buy Fresh Market for $1.36B

Specialty grocery chain The Fresh Market Inc. has agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management for $1.36 billion.

Apollo Funds will pay $28.50 per share, about 24% more than Fresh Market's closing share price Friday, and about 53% more than the closing share price on Thursday, the day before speculation about a potential transaction began.

"We are delighted about this transaction with The Fresh Market, which was one of the early pioneers in small-box grocery, offering unique, delicious and healthy food with a keen focus on perishables," Andrew S. Jhawar, head of the retail and consumer group at Apollo, said in a statement.

Fresh Market has been growing its store count in recent months, but failed in efforts to expand into California.

Fresh Market was founded in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1982 as an American take on the "European style market, " selling fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables with an open-air feel. There are 186 Fresh Market locations in 27 states.

In October, Fresh Market announced it was considering a possible sale because of a sales slump. The company has struggled to compete with chains such as Kroger, Costco, and Walmart, as the grocery and retail chains have begun offering organic products at lower price points.

In February, reports emerged that Kroger was considering purchasing Fresh Market, following the company's acquisitions of grocery chains Roundy's in 2015 and Harris Teeter in 2014.

According to Apollo, the deal is expected to close in the second half of 2016.

Other moves made by Apollo Global Management:

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One of the largest organic grocery stores was just acquired for $1.3 billion, and it's plotting an empire
NEWARK, CA - JANUARY 16: A sign is posted in front of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant on January 16, 2014 in Newark, California. CEC Entertainment, operator of 577 kid-themed restaurants, announced today that it has agreed to be purchased by private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $1.3 billion. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 16: An ADT home security alarm sign is seen in front of a home on February 16, 2016 in Miami, Florida. It was announced today that home security firm ADT was purchased by private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $6.9 billion. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Logos sit on display outside an Evo Banco bank branch in Madrid, Spain, on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. Apollo Global Management LLC agreed to buy Evo Banco, a unit of nationalized Spanish lender NCG Banco SA, in the first foreign private-equity purchase since Spain's bank bailout last year. Photographer: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PICO RIVERA, CA - JULY 15: Hostess Twinkie snack cakes are on display at a store July 15, 2013, Pico Rivera, California. Twinkies returned to store shelves after Hostess filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last year, after years of management turmoil and a standoff with its second-biggest union. The company sold off its various brands, with Twinkies and other Hostess cakes going to private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Cans of Sara Lee Corp. Chock Full O' Nuts coffee are displayed for sale at a grocery store in New York, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. Sara Lee received a takeover bid from Apollo Global Management LLC, Bain Capital LLC and TPG Capital that is higher than the food company's most recent closing share price of $18.70, said three people with knowledge of the matter. Photographer: JB Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images
99 Cents Only Stores signage is displayed at a store in Berkeley, California, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 22, 2011. Apollo Global Management LLC will make an offer to acquire the deep-discount retail chain, according to the New York Post. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A businessman enters the Brit Insurance Holdings NV headquarters in London, U.K., on Wednesday, July 28, 2010. Brit received a cash offer of 10.75 pounds a share from Apollo Global Management, the Amsterdam-based company said today in a statement. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hefty trash bags sit on display at a supermarket in New York, U.S., on Monday, May 17, 2010. Pactiv Corp., the maker of Hefty trash bags, is in talks to be bought by Apollo Global Management LLC, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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