Dutch Market Firm to Buy U.S. Foodservice
Royal Ahold, Europe’s third-largest supermarket company, agreed to buy U.S. Foodservice Inc. for $3.6 billion to become a supplier of food to U.S. sports stadiums, restaurants and other businesses. The Dutch owner of the Giant and Stop & Shop chains would pay $26 a share in cash, a 42% premium to U.S. Foodservice’s closing price Monday, and assume $925 million in debt. The purchase of the No. 2 U.S. food distributor gives Ahold immediate access to a $150-billion-a-year market. Ahold already is the fifth-biggest U.S. supermarket company. U.S. Foodservice, whose customers include Subway Sandwich Shops Inc., Uno Restaurant Corp.'s Pizzeria Uno chain and 140 other businesses, would add to profit this year, Ahold said. Shares of Columbia, Md.-based U.S. Foodservice jumped $6.13 to close at $24.38 on the New York Stock Exchange.