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Ahold Looking to Buy Dutch Retail Chain Hema

Dutch food retailer Ahold is looking to buy the Dutch-based retail franchise Hema, recently put up for sales, possibly for more than 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion), a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Ahold, which is selling its U.S. Foodservice catering supplies unit after coming under pressure from activist shareholders to break up the company to boost profitability, had not indicated that it was interested in making acquisitions.

Ahold is considering a bid for Hema, which sells mainly non-food items such as clothing and household supplies, the daily Financieele Dagblad reported.

A bid for Hema, owned by privately-held Maxeda, would amount to at least 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion), the newspaper reported.

Hema has more than 1.3 billion euros in annual sales.

Last month, Maxeda put Hema up for sale, saying that it had interest from prospective bidders from the Netherlands and abroad.

Hema, a household name in the Netherlands, has 355 stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.

Maxeda, renamed from Vendex KBB in 2006, owns Dutch department stores V&D, womenswear outlets Claudia Straeter and M&S, luxury department outlets Bijenkorf, lingerie maker Hunkemoeller and DIY retail chains Praxis, Formido, Brico and Plan-it.

It was acquired by private equity funds Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Permira, Cinven and Alpinvest Partners in 2004 and delisted.