A&P, PATHMARK SET SHAREHOLDER VOTE ON MERGER
MONTVALE, N.J. — A&P and Pathmark have scheduled shareholder meetings for Nov. 8 to obtain approval for their pending merger, the companies said in a prospectus filed last week. A&P will meet with shareholders at their headquarters here at 9 a.m., and Pathmark will hold a separate meeting at its Carteret, N.J. offices at 10 a.m. Both companies require a majority of votes of outstanding shares to approve the deal, which has been recommended for approval by the boards and the largest shareholders of the respective companies.
WAL-MART DENIES SYSTEMATIC TAX CHALLENGES
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — A spokesman for Wal-Mart Stores here last week denied the company systematically challenges tax assessments on its properties, but defended the company's right to do so when warranted. The retailer was responding to the publication of a research report by Washington-based group Good Jobs First, which alleged the company had sought to reduce taxes on 35% of its stores and 40% of its warehouses (the Wal-Mart spokesman also was skeptical of those figures, which were based on projections). “Unwittingly, Wal-Mart appears to be confirming the argument often raised by neighborhood groups that the construction of one of the company's giant stores will reduce property values,” Greg LeRoy, director of Good Jobs First, said in a statement.
AHOLD SETTLES WITH VAN DER HOEVEN, MEURS
AMSTERDAM — The former chief executive officer and chief financial officer of Ahold have agreed to pay the retailer here nearly $10 million to settle claims stemming from Ahold's 2003 financial scandal. Cees van der Hoeven, the former CEO, would pay around $7 million, while Michiel Meurs would pay $2.8 million, Ahold said. Van der Hoeven also agreed to drop a counterclaim against Ahold seeking payments the retailer was said to have owed him, Ahold said. The settlement was agreed to on the basis that neither van der Hoeven nor Meurs has admitted liability for the scandal.
WINN-DIXIE SELECTED FOR TURNAROUND HONORS
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Four professionals who advised Winn-Dixie Stores here through its 16-month stay in Chapter 11 bankruptcy are to be honored this week with the annual Mega Company Turnaround award. The Turnaround Management Association, Chicago, identified Flip Hubbard, a financial advisor for the Blackstone Group; Holly Felder Etlin, restructuring advisor, formerly with XRoads Solutions Group; and attorneys D.J. Baker of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Stephen Busey of Smith Hulsey & Busey, as turnaround leaders. Their efforts in creating a compromise on substantive consolidation, as well as their input on asset sales, creating a new footprint and launching in-store service initiatives, helped Winn-Dixie emerge as a stand-alone company and post annual increases in EBITDA, sales, margins and cash position. The award is scheduled to be presented at a TMA event this week in Boston.
UNION FILES CHARGES; OHIO LOCAL OKS STRIKE
EUGENE, Ore. — United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 here said last week that it has filed unfair labor practice charges against Safeway, Supervalu and Kroger, saying the chains have refused to discuss wages and other economic issues over the past six months of negotiations. Local 555 has been working under a contract extension since February. A federal mediator has assisted in talks since July. Separately, UFCW Local 1099, Cincinnati, said its membership has voted to permit its leaders to call a strike against Kroger, saying the retailer has engaged in “robber-baron bargaining.” The 10,000-member union is negotiating a contract with the Cincinnati-based retailer to replace the deal that expired earlier this month.