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Parent Companies of Giant and Food Lion Chains Receive Merger Approval

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced yesterday that Maryland and five other states have reached a settlement with Netherlands-based Koninklijke Ahold N.V., the owner of Giant supermarkets, and Belgium-based Delhaize Group NV/SA, the owner of Food Lion supermarkets, following the states' review of the companies' proposed merger.

Ahold operates three Giant Food Stores in Germantown, and 16 in other parts of Montgomery County. The merger is not expected to greatly effect the operation of local stores.

The proposed merger combines the parent companies of multiple supermarket chains in the United States and Europe. Working with the Federal Trade Commission, the State Attorneys General are requiring Ahold and Delhaize to divest 76 stores nationwide in order to complete the merger. Twenty-six of the stores required to be divested are located in Maryland. Weis Markets will be acquiring 21 Food Lions to be integrated into the Weis Chain. Supervalue, Inc. will acquire the four Food Lions in the Hagerstown area and operate them as Shop N Saves. In Salisbury, Md., Albertson's will acquire the Giant and operate it under the Acme banner.

"Entering into this Settlement and allowing this merger to be completed with divestitures will ensure a continued and robust competition for the Maryland market," said Attorney General Frosh. "There are numerous Food Lion and Giant stores located throughout Maryland. This settlement maintains a marketplace with incentives for stores to offer the best prices, service, and merchandise to Maryland consumers."

Maryland worked with the Federal Trade Commission and the other Attorneys General in conducting a national review of the transaction. The Attorneys General filed their lawsuit and proposed consent judgment in the federal District Court for the District of Columbia. The merger was originally announced on June 24, 2015, and became effective on earlier this week.

Ahold Delhaize CEO Dick Boer said via a statement yesterday, “Today is the start of an important new chapter and a unique opportunity to deliver even more for customers and communities, associates and shareholders. Building on common values, complementary operations and proud legacies of success, we move forward with leading positions particularly on the United States East Coast and in Europe. Our strong e-commerce businesses and 22 great, local brands each share a passion for delivering great food, value, and innovation for customers, and for making a difference in their local communities.”

The combined company traces its roots back nearly 150 years. Ahold Delhaize’s 22 local brands serve more than 50 million customers each week in 11 countries and have a combined workforce of more than 375,000 associates. In the United States, Ahold Delhaize operates under the Food Lion and Giant brands, as well as, Stop & Shop in New York and New England, Hannaford, Martin’s, Giant Carlisle, Giant Landover, Peapod, and bfresh.

Caption: The Giant Food Store on Leaman Farm Road in Germantown is one of three Giant stores in Germantown.

Photo by Germantown Pulse.