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Ahold Wins Shareholder Approval for Sale of U.S. Foodservice

Supermarket chain owner Royal Ahold said Tuesday its shareholders approved the sale of its U.S. Foodservice bulk food distributor to private investors for $7.1 billion.

The shareholders also agreed on the company's proposal to return 3 billion euros ($4 billion) to them through a cash payment and a reverse stock split. Investors will now receive a one-time dividend of 1.89 euros ($2.53) per share.

Ahold -- which owns the Giant and Stop & Shop chains in the U.S, as well as the Albert Heijn supermarkets in the Netherlands -- announced in May that it would sell U.S. Foodservice to funds affiliated with the private equity firms Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

The disposal would cut ties between Ahold and the subsidiary whose accounting scandal caused it to overstate earnings by around $1 billion from 1999 through 2002, pushing it to the brink of bankruptcy.

Chief Executive Anders Moberg, who took the helm after the fraud was revealed in 2003 and guided the company back to stability, is stepping down July 1.

Ahold shares fell 1.4% to 9.73 euros ($13.04) Tuesday in Amsterdam.