LANDOVER, Md. -- Ahold, Zaandam, Netherlands, said last week it closed its $2.6 billion acquisition of Giant Food here, and that Pete L. Manos, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Giant, is retiring effective Jan. 2.
to divest 10 stores in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Those stores are to be bought by a mix of chains and independent supermarkets -- Fleming Cos., Frederick County Foods, Richfood Holdings, Supervalu and Safeway.
Ahold said last week it bought the 59.2 million Class A shares tendered while "simultaneously with such payment" it purchased all of Giant's outstanding voting Class AC common stock -- 690,149 shares.
With the acquisition accomplished, making Giant Food a wholly owned subsidiary of Ahold's U.S. holding company, Ahold USA, Atlanta, "I have fulfilled my mission," Manos said.
"Royal Ahold is taking over a company with the best people, a great culture and tradition and a strong market position. Giant will benefit from the synergies, scale and resources necessary for new growth and a strong market presence. Though I have mixed emotions about retiring after all these years, I know I am leaving the company to a new generation of managers who subscribe to the same goals and vision as my own," he added.
Manos joined Giant food in 1960 at the age of 24. He was appointed president in 1992 and became CEO in 1995, succeeding the chain's founder, Izzy Cohen, who passed away that year. In 1996, he was also named the company's chairman.
Bob Tobin, Ahold USA corporate executive board member, president and chief financial officer, said of his Giant counterpart, "We are grateful for what he achieved. Pete leaves the company in excellent shape, highly appreciated by its customers and with a strong group of dedicated associates.
"He is helping us with the process, now underway, of selecting his successor. Under Ahold's flag, Pete's and Giant Food's mission and vision will remain intact."
Ahold USA, the seventh-largest supermarket chain in the United States, acquires in Giant a strong regional chain with 179 stores that posted $4.2 billion in sales last year. Giant holds a 45% market share in the Washington area and a 29% share in greater Baltimore. Ahold USA, with 822 stores in 14 states, posted $14.29 billion in sales in 1997.
According to Ahold USA, the company expects the merger to yield synergy effects of approximately $30 million next year and an additional $50 million in 2000. The company said synergy will extend to distribution, procurement, private label, store construction and marketing, among other expected benefits.