Ahold, Delhaize confirm merger talks; shares rise

Supermarket groups Ahold and Delhaize on Tuesday said they were in the early stages of merger talks, confirming reports that a 25-billion-euro ($28 billion) retail giant was in the making.

"These discussions may or may not result in a future transaction. The company will communicate material updates, if any, in accordance with regulatory requirements," Delhaize and Ahold said in brief, equally worded statements.

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The two companies have similar footprints, with large U.S. operations -- Food Lion and Hannaford for Delhaize as well as Stop&Shop and Giant for Ahold -- and roots in the Benelux countries.

While some analysts had welcomed reports of a possible tie-up, others warned that large-scale mergers in the supermarket sector seldom produced more shareholder value.