WASHINGTON (FNS) -- Ahold, Zaandam, Netherlands, last week received antitrust clearance to buy Giant Food, Landover, Md., following the Federal Trade Commission's acceptance of Ahold's proposed store divestiture plan.
Ahold officials said the deal, valued at $2.6 billion, or $43.50 per share of Giant stock, is expected to close Wednesday.
Hans Gobes, Ahold spokesman, said the Giant acquisition won't stop the company from pursuing further targeted acquisitions in the United States. "Of course, we haven't stopped growing. We see lots of opportunity deals," Gobes said. "We have a small list of companies we have been following for some time," he said.
As far as the Giant acquisition, "We see enormous potential for joint activity. There is considerable synergy potential," Gobes said, listing procurement, logistics and distribution among the departments where the companies will meld well.
He said it's too early to say what changes Ahold will undertake at Giant. As far as executive changes, Gobes said Ahold policy is not to undertake wholesale management shakeups at companies it acquires. "We are very proud of how Giant is being run today," he said.
As reported, the buyers of the 10 stores to be sold are a mix of chains and independent supermarkets. Fleming Cos., Frederick County Foods (a Supervalu affiliate) and Richfood Holdings' Foodarama are buyers of four Ahold stores in Maryland. Supervalu will buy four Giant stores in Pennsylvania and Safeway will buy a Giant outlet in Maryland.
The deal is considered significant for giving Ahold a strong foothold in the Baltimore/Washington area. It is also the first time Ahold, the seventh largest supermarket chain in the U.S., will go head-to-head with Safeway. Giant, a strong regional player, last year had $4.2 billion in sales with 179 stores. Ahold USA, with 822 stores in 14 states, posted sales of $14.29 billion.