NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Fresh Market (TFM) stock is gaining 18.27% to $21.98 on heavy trading volume on Thursday afternoon following reports that The Kroger Co. (KR) may acquire the Greensboro, NC-based specialty grocery retailer, according to Reuters.

Kroger, along with Apollo Global Management (APO), KKR & Co. (KKR) and TPG Capital, is in the second round of the auction for The Fresh Market, sources told Reuters, adding that a sale is still uncertain.

In October, The Fresh Market announced it would conduct a strategic and financial review of its business. The review could lead to the sale of the company, financial initiatives within the business or capital structure optimization.

So far today 4.69 million shares of The Fresh Market have exchanged hands, compared with its average daily volume of 612,682 shares.

Separately, The Fresh Market has a "hold" rating and a letter grade of C at TheStreet Ratings because of the company's strengths, such as revenue growth, largely solid financial position and notable return on equity, and its weaknesses, including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing stock performance.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: TFM

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. 

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