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Ahold, Delhaize to divest 86 stores as companies await merger decision

BY David Salazar
ZAANDAM, The Netherlands and BRUSSELS, Belgium — As the Federal Trade Commission approaches a decision on their proposed merger, Delhaize Group and Ahold on Thursday announced that they would be divesting a combined total of 86 stores in areas where both their U.S. subsidiaries operate. 
 
The merger, which was announced last year and approved by the companies’s shareholders in March, will see Ahold paying $11 billion for Delhaize. The stores being sold make up 4.1% of the two companies’ total combined count of stores in the United States and 3.2% of combined net sales. 
 
“Selling stores is a difficult part of any merger process, given the impact on our associates, customers and communities in which we operate," Delhaize Group president and CEO Frans Muller said. “We believe we have made every effort to identify strong buyers for these locations, and we want to thank our loyal associates and customers who have shopped our stores and supported us for so many years. Upon the completion of the merger, we will continue to maintain our local Food Lion and Hannaford brands; however, our new company scale will enable us to accelerate our local market strategies to better serve our customers with nearly 2,000 stores along the East Coast in the United States.”
 
The buyers for the stores are:
  • New Albertson’s (part of Albertson’s) is purchasing one Giant Food store in Salisbury, Md.;
  • Big Y will be buying 8 Hannaford stores in eastern Massachusetts;
  • Publix is purchasing 10 Martin’s stores in Richmond, Va.;
  • Saubel’s Markets is purchasing one Food Lion store in York, Pa. 
  • Supervalu will be buying 22 Food Lion Stores across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia;
  • Tops Markets is purchasing one Stop & Shop store in Massachusetts and three Stop & Shop and two Hannaford locations in New York; and 
  • Weis Markets will purchase 38 Food Lion stores in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
 
“The combination of Ahold and Delhaize Group is a unique opportunity to deliver even more for customers, associates and local communities. Together, Ahold and Delhaize Group have been working hard to resolve the competition concerns raised by the FTC, and we are pleased to have found strong, wellestablished buyers for the stores we are required to divest.”
 
The companies expect a decision from the FTC by the end of July. 
 
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Weis Markets expands mid-Atlantic presence through acquisition

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. – Weis Markets on Thursday announced it has reached a definitive agreement with Food Lion to purchase the assets of 38 Food Lion supermarket locations operating in the states of Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. The company plans to complete the purchase of these locations pending regulatory approval.

"This transaction provides us the opportunity to expand into markets that are contiguous to our current trade area, particularly in Maryland where we are adding 21 stores — essentially doubling our store count in a state where we have steadily grown in recent years," stated Weis Markets chairman, president and CEO Jonathan Weis. "We're also looking forward to expanding our operations into two adjacent states with the addition of 13 stores in Virginia and four in Delaware."

Weis Markets expects to complete the conversion process for the majority of these stores in September and October.

This is the company's second major acquisition in 2016. In May, it announced plans to purchase five Mars Super Markets in Baltimore County, Maryland, a deal expected to close later this summer.

When both purchases are complete, Weis Markets will have increased the number of its operating stores by more than 25% and will operate 202 stores in seven states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and West Virginia.

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Walmart enters strategic relationship with global ad and PR agency Publicis Groupe

BY Michael Johnsen

PARIS – Publicis Groupe, a global leader in marketing and business transformation services, and Wal-Mart Stores, announced Tuesday the launch of a new strategic relationship that will give Walmart unfettered access to all of Publicis Groupe`s agencies and resources.

"Our ambition globally is to make every day easier for busy families, and having best-in-class marketing is critical to achieving that goal," stated Doug McMillon, president and CEO Walmart Stores. "This relationship with Publicis Groupe will help us think and act differently, which will ultimately enable us to serve our customers even better."

"This relationship is the direct result of Publicis' new approach, `the Power of One,` which is designed to deliver end-to end solutions for our clients," Maurice Lévy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe. "Walmart is already implementing innovative approaches to reach its customers.  Our goal is to leverage all of Publicis' assets – not just the resources of one agency – to help them in these efforts."

The relationship, which is not exclusive, went into effect on July 1 and initially applies to Walmart`s US advertising and in-store creative for which Publicis Groupe will function as the primary Agency of Record. The relationship will be led by Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Communications.

The new entity will focus on how Publicis Groupe and Walmart will partner on advertising and marketing efforts as the companies together navigate the future of retail.

Walmart will also have access to resources outside of marketing, including capabilities to support corporate reputation and technology that builds relationships with customers.

 

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