Belgium-based European grocery chain Delhaize Group has confirmed that it is in preliminary talks with Dutch rival Royal Ahold over a possible merger deal.
In a brief statement, the two companies said that they had held discussions “to explore the opportunity of combining the two companies”. According to reports in CNBC and the Wall St Journal, the combined company would be worth an estimated €25 billion and would become a siginificant player on the US grocery market, where Delhaize has the Food Lion and Hannaford chains and Ahold operates Stop & Shop and Giant outlets, as well as the Peapod online grocery store.
Reuters reports that speculation about a possible tie-up between the two chains had previously surfaced as far back as 2006.
In Europe, Ahold operates Albert Heijn, the largest grocery chain in the Netherlands with over 800 stores. Delhaize is one of Belgium’s leading supermarket chains, operating more than 700 stores in the country under the Delhaize banner.
Source: Delhaize / Ahold / Reuters / CNBC / Wall St Journal