MONTVALE, N.J. – The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Inc. (A&P), one of the nation's first supermarket chains, has entered into an agreement to receive $490 million of debt and equity financing from private investors comprised of The Yucaipa Companies LLC, Mount Kellett Capital Management LP and investment funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP. The agreement is subject to approval of the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

A&P and its subsidiaries filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions on Dec. 12, 2010. A&P intends to continue to operate its stores normally during the company’s exit process.

A&P will be able to complete the restructuring of its balance sheet and emerge from Chapter 11 as a private entity in early 2012 due to the agreement with these investors, the company said. The investment will form the basis of A&P’s plan of reorganization, which the company anticipates filing prior to Nov. 14.

“This investment commitment is a very important step in A&P’s financial and operational turnaround,” said Sam Martin, president and chief executive officer. “It positions us for a bright future with solid financial backing from sophisticated investors who know our company and industry well, and who also share our vision for A&P’s future.”

Following the closing of the transaction and the company’s emergence from Chapter 11, A&P’s current board of directors will be dissolved and a new one will be appointed in accordance with the terms of the plan of reorganization.

Founded in 1859, A&P operates 336 stores in seven states under the trade names A&P, Waldbaum's, Pathmark, Best Cellars, The Food Emporium, Super Foodmart, Superfresh and Food Basics.