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AMSTERDAM -- Shares of Royal Ahold here shot up 0.06 percent, to 7.98 euros, in response to Belgian and Dutch newspaper reports of a possible merger between Ahold and Brussels-based retail conglomerate Delhaize, owner of Food Lion.
The newspapers reported rumors that Delhaize might purchase Ahold's U.S. food retail businesses, which include Giant-Carlisle, Giant-Landover, and Stop & Shop.
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Analysts expressed skepticism that a merger would actually occur, however, because of competition issues in the Northeastern market, as well as Ahold's ongoing restructuring.
In other Ahold news, Michael Resnick, the former c.f.o. of Columbia, Md.-based Ahold division U.S. Foodservice, earlier this month pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge connected with his part in Ahold's 2003 accounting scandal, according to published reports.
Resnick entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Manhattan Sept. 8. He would have gone on trial in October, but instead will be sentenced Dec. 11.
Prosecutors said that from in 2001 and 2002, Resnick and others at the division falsified accounting figures to make it seem that U.S. Foodservice was meeting quarterly earnings goals.
Fraud charges have additionally been brought against 16 vendors implicated in the scandal.
U.S. Foodservice and Ahold allegedly overstated earnings by about $800 million from 2000 to 2003.