QUINCY, Mass. -- Ahold, Zaandam, Netherlands, agreed to acquire Stop & Shop Cos. here last week in a move that surprised the supermarket industry and underlined the Dutch firm's determination to markedly increase its U.S. presence. For the $2.9 billion price tag, which would reportedly be Ahold's biggest purchase ever and which is considered a high multiple by analysts, Ahold would become the sixth largest U.S. supermarket company, with sales of $12.4 billion on a pro forma basis, ...

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