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Shareholders of Ahold and Delhaize overwhelmingly approved the proposed merger of the international retail conglomerates at their respective meetings today. Shareholders of both companies additionally approved the appointments of members of the future Ahold Delhaize management and supervisory boards, which will take effect when the merger is completed later this year.
“This is a critical milestone in the completion of our proposed merger, which will create an even stronger international food retailer for all stakeholders,” said Jan Hommen, chairman of Amsterdam-based Ahold.
According to Mats Jansson, chairman of Brussels-based Delhaize, the “vote underscores their clear appreciation of the strategic rationale for the combination of our two companies, which will create a stronger and more innovative food retail company, with enhanced scale and increased relevance in local communities. We are moving one step closer to the completion of this merger process, which is expected to take place mid-2016."
Last June, the retail conglomerates revealed their intention to merge, creating an international retailer with more than 6,500 stores and 375,000-plus associates across the United States and Europe.
The proposed merger is currently under review by the Belgian Competition Authority and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
"From the Belgian authorities we expect we'll have a minor number of stores from both will have to be sold," Ahold CEO Dick Boer told Reuters at today's meeting. "On the U.S. side we're still waiting in a way for their views," Boer was further quoted by Reuters as saying, noting that he didn't think concessions would significantly change the shape of the merger.