PLEASANTON, Calif. -- In a bid to continue fattening its earnings, Safeway here last week proposed to acquire Vons Cos., Arcadia, Calif., for about $1.65 billion in stock. Vons' management, apparently caught off-guard by the unsolicited merger proposal, said Safeway's offer "will be studied by a committee of outside directors of Vons, which will respond in due course." Safeway gave Vons two weeks to respond. Observers said if Vons agrees to the proposal, a merger would be unlikely before ...

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