Brussels — Ahold and Delhaize — two European grocery giants with strong holdings in the U.S. market — have agreed to merge the two companies.
The merger will create a base of more than 6,500 stores with 375,000 employees, which will serve over 50 million customers per week in the United States and in Europe. The combination, Ahold Delhaize, will bring together four major United States supermarket chains: Stop & Shop, Giant Food Stores, Food Lion and Hannaford. The companies’ combined U.S. sales is €32.9 billion ($36.8 billion); just over 60 percent of the combined sales of Ahold and Delhaize are generated by the companies’ U.S. stores. The combined Ahold Delhaize will be a significant tenant for many grocery-anchored centers on the East Coast and the entity will have a more competitive standing in the United States grocery market.
Pending completion of the merger, Mats Jansson, chairman of Ahold, will become chairman of the new company; Jan Hommen, chairman of Ahold, and Jacques de Vaucleroy, group director of Delhaize, will become vice chairmen of the new company; Dick Boer, CEO of Ahold, will become chief executive officer; and Frans Muller, CEO of Delhaize Group, will become deputy chief executive officer and chief integration officer of the new Ahold Delhaize. The transaction, which was unanimously recommended by the boards of both companies, is expected to reach completion in mid-2016, following regulatory clearances, associated consultation procedures and shareholder approval.