Although Rite Aid did not say how much it expected to get for Super Rite, John Kosecoff, who follows Rite Aid for First Manhattan Securities Corp., said analysts estimated its value at $100 million to $115 million.
The 53.2 percent of Super Rite that is not owned by Rite Aid is publicly traded in the over-the-counter market. The stock closed yesterday at $22.25, up $5 from Friday.
Rite Aid said it would name an independent financial adviser and a special committee to consider any proposals to buy Super Rite.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Grass said Rite Aid received a "modest dividend" from its stake in Super Rite. "From a business standpoint, it doesn't make sense for Rite Aid to continue holding Super Rite."
Grass declined to say why he would want to buy Super Rite, commenting, ''When the board decided last week to sell its interest, I and the management at Super Rite indicated we would consider buying it."
Based in Harrisburg, Super Rite is the successor to Louis Lehrman & Sons Inc., a food wholesaler founded in the 1920s by the grandfather of Grass' former wife. Since the 1960s, when Grass began establishing Rite Aid stores, the food wholesale business has become a less important part of Rite Aid.
Super Rite was entirely owned by Rite Aid until 1983, when part ownership was sold to the public.
Super Rite is a wholesale supplier to more than 200 supermarkets, primarily in central Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Maryland. It also operates the 32-store chain of Basics supermarkets in the Baltimore area.