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Ahold, Delhaize close merger deal

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, and ZAANDAM, the Netherlands — Delhaize Group and Royal Ahold completed their $29 billion merger transaction over the weekend.

The Europe-based food and drug retailers said the deal received regulatory clearance from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and Delhaize Group chief executive officer Frans Muller and Ahold CEO Dick Boer have signed of the merger deed. The companies had said just days before that they expected approval from regulators on July 23 and for the merger to take effect on July 24.

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The merged company, Ahold Delhaize, will have more than 6,500 stores internationally and approximately 2,000 stores in the U.S.

Shares in the combined company, Ahold Delhaize, are slated to begin trading on Euronext Amsterdam and Euronext Brussels under ticker symbol AD on July 25. Ahold Delhaize American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) will trade over-the-counter in the United States and be quoted on the OTCQX International marketplace. Under the merger agreement, stockholders will receive 4.75 Ahold Delhaize ordinary shares for each Delhaize ordinary share.

“Completing this merger today is an exciting and historic moment,” Boer said in a statement. “I would like to thank all associates for their dedication and hard work. With our new leadership team, we look forward to continuing to deliver for our customers and other stakeholders.”

Boer will become Ahold Delhaize CEO, while Muller is slated to serve as deputy CEO and chief integration officer of the combined company.

“We are pleased to complete our merger with Ahold today,” Muller stated. “I would like to thank our associates for all their work and dedication. The moment to merge has never been more right, and we are confident that we will deliver even more for customers, communities and investors.”

Ahold Delhaize will have more than 6,500 stores internationally and roughly 2,000 stores in the United States.

“Today marks the successful completion of this cross-border merger, bringing together two great food retail companies,” commented Jan Hommen, chairman of the Ahold Supervisory Board. “Ahold Delhaize is ready for a strong start, building on its strong foundation, heritage and complementary businesses.”

Both retailers generate most of their sales through their U.S. supermarket divisions. Overall in the U.S., Ahold Delhaize will have sales of around $37 billion, making it one of the nation’s largest food and pharmacy retailers. The merged company would be the 11th largest retail pharmacy operator by location, with more than 700 pharmacies.

Earlier this month, the companies announced that Delhaize America and Ahold USA reached agreements with buyers to divest 86 stores in connection with their pending merger, which was announced in June 2015. Delhaize and Ahold said the stores being sold account for 4.1% of their total combined U.S. store count and 3.2% of their combined U.S. 2015 net sales.

Under those agreements, Weis Markets Inc. is purchasing 38 Food Lion stores in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and Supervalu Inc. is buying 22 Food Lion stores in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Publix Super Markets Inc. has agreed to acquire 10 Martin’s stores in Richmond, Va.

In addition, Big Y Foods Inc. is slated to buy eight Hannaford stores in eastern Massachusetts, while Tops Markets (based in New York), is purchasing one Stop & Shop store in Massachusetts plus three Stop & Shop stores and two Hannaford stores in New York. New Albertson’s Inc. (part of Albertsons Cos.) has agreed to acquire one Giant Food store in Salisbury, Md., and Saubel’s Markets plans to buy one Food Lion store in York, Pa.

Ahold USA’s grocery chains include Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Giant Food Stores and Martin’s Food Market, while Delhaize America is led by its Food Lion and Hannaford supermarket chains.

“Today is an historic day, as we are now really bringing together these two great companies, creating an even stronger international food retailer,” Mats Jansson, chairman of Delhaize Group, commented about the completion of the merger. “We are completing this international transaction with great momentum and a high level of readiness.”


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