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AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands - Press reports swirled in Europe over the weekend of a split between Royal Ahold board members on whether to break up the group in response to entreaties from hedge fund investors.
The reports of a split of opinion among board members appeared in The Business newspaper, and were quickly picked up by other news organizations. The Business newspaper said a source close to the company revealed that a split over whether the group should spin off key parts of the business had divided the board in discussions over the weekend.
The source was reported to have said: "The board is divided. Everything is on the table. It is not smooth sailing, and it's going to take a little more time."
Ahold has been the target of shareholder activism in recent weeks, with the hedge funds Centaurus and Paulson calling for parts of the business to be sold off, especially the U.S. operations, which currently are performing relatively well for the retail conglomerate.