Delhaize, Ahold will sell 86 US stores if their massive merger is approved

As a means to win approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission regarding their proposed USD 31 billion (EUR 27.9 billion) merger, major food retailers Koninklijke Ahold NV and Delhaize Group have agreed to sell 86 U.S.-based stores.

Contingent on FTC clearance, both companies noted in a joint statement issued on 14 July that their U.S. subsidiaries had arrived at agreements with seven buyers; the retailers expect for the merger to culminate by the end of July if the FTC gives its blessing, reported The Wall Street Journal. As of now, Weis Markets Inc. has agreed to buy 38 Food Lion stores in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia; Supervalu Inc. will purchase 22 Food Lion stores in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia; while Albertsons Cos., Big Y Foods Inc., and Publix Super Markets Inc. are in talks of buying some of the other for-sale storefronts.

The stores being marketed represent 4.1 percent of Ahold’s and Delhaize Group’s store pool, and make up 3.2 percent of the companies’ U.S. net sales. According to the WSJ, in 2015, the companies reported combined sales of USD 44 billion (EUR 39.7 billion) in the U.S., thanks to Ahold’s Stop & Shop and Giant stores and Delhaize’s Food Lion and Hannaford chains.

When combined, the companies – which are based in the Netherlands and Belgium – could potentially generate around two-thirds of enterprise sales in the U.S., what with the 2,000 Ahold and Delhaize stores present all along the East Coast. The merging of the companies would create one of the largest grocery chains in the U.S. and Europe, comprised of 6,500 stores worldwide with 375,000 employees.

“Together, Ahold and Delhaize Group have been working hard to resolve the competition concerns raised by the FTC, and we are pleased to have found strong, well established buyers for the stores we are required to divest,” Ahold Chief Executive Dick Boer said to WSJ.


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