Netherlands-based grocer Ahold and Belgian-based rival Delhaize have agreed with buyers to divest 86 U.S. stores in an effort to win the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) approval for their pending merger. The merger is scheduled to be complete at the end of July 2016 pending FTC clearance. The combined company will be named Ahold Delhaize.
Through the merger, both companies plan to accelerate innovation by leveraging their expertise to “deliver increased value and choice for customers across its supermarket formats and online platforms,” according to the company.
“We believe that the proposed merger of Ahold and Delhaize will create significant value for all our stakeholders,” said Frans Muller, CEO of Delhaize in a statement. “Supported by our talented and committed associates, Ahold Delhaize aims to increase relevance in its local communities by improving the value proposition for its customers through assortment innovation and merchandising, a better shopping experience both in stores and online, investments in value, and new store growth. We look forward to working closely with the Ahold team to implement a smooth integration process and realize the targeted synergies.”
Ahold Delhaize will be selling its stores to seven buyers. Weis Markets Inc. has already announced it will purchase 38 Food Lion stores in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. Supervalu Inc. will also acquire 22 Food Lion stores in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Other buyers include Publix Super Markets, Albertsons and Big Y Foods.
“This transaction provides us the opportunity to expand into markets that are contiguous to our current trade area, particularly in Maryland where we are adding 21 stores — essentially doubling our store count in a state where we have steadily grown in recent years,” said Jonathan Weis, President and CEO of Weis Markets in a statement.