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Boston • BOSTON • Three independent Market Basket board members are again calling on the supermarket chain's protesting employees to return to work, and customers to return.

The directors also say they are available to negotiate an end to a battle over control of the company.

Last week, they said they had proposed fired CEO Arthur T. Demoulas and his management team return to help operations get back to normal without taking control of the company as talks continue on his bid to buy out family members.

Demoulas rejected that as "disengenuous" and said his purchase offer has been met with counterproposals "laden with onerous terms."

The power struggle that began after the board fired Demoulas in June has led to protests by thousands of employees and a boycott by customers. It has led to a steep drop in sales at the chain with 71 New England stores.

The offer for the private company has not been disclosed, but an industry publication estimates the company's value at up to $3.5 billion.

Arthur T. Demoulas said his offer was made at a "pre-crisis" valuation of the company. His spokeswoman said he hopes the rival family faction will reach an agreement "before it is too late to save this company."

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