Deal creates a global retailer with more than 6,500 stores
ZAANDAM, the Netherlands and BRUSSELS, Belgium — Shareholders of Koninklijke Ahold N.V. and Delhaize Group have voted to approve the proposed merger of the two retailers, the companies announced on Monday. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close later this year.
Officials with the companies said the merger, announced last summer, would permit them to innovate and develop store formats and brands that can keep the company competitive on both sides of the Atlantic. The combined company is to be called Ahold Delhaize. It would be led by Dick Boer, chief executive officer of Ahold, and headquartered in the Netherlands.
Both retailers record more than 60% of their sales in the United States, where Delhaize operates the Food Lion and Hannaford grocery chains and Ahold runs the Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Giant and Martin’s Food Market chains, as well as the Peapod online ordering and delivery service. Ahold Delhaize would be the fourth-largest U.S. food retailer by revenue, behind Walmart, Kroger Co. and Albertsons. It would have more than 2,000 stores and be a formidable supermarket competitor along the East Coast, where each is concentrated. Ahold USA operates 775 supermarkets in 14 states from Massachusetts to Virginia. Delhaize has 1,100 Food Lion stores in 10 states and 186 Hannaford stores in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York.
“Today’s vote underscores [shareholders’] clear appreciation of the strategic rationale for the combination of our two companies, which will create a stronger and more innovative food retail company, with enhanced scale and increased relevance in local communities,” Mats Jansson, Delhaize chairman, commented in a press release.
Added Ahold chairman Jan Hommen, “We deeply appreciate the overwhelming support of our shareholders, as well as their confidence in the future of Ahold Delhaize. This is a critical milestone in the completion of our proposed merger, which will create an even stronger international food retailer for all stakeholders.”