Ahold CEO Willing to Wait Out the Competition
Ahold CEO John Rishton doesn’t see the U.S. economy improving
markedly this year and thinks that could work to his company’s advantage.
Rishton, who spoke at the Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit, said, "I’m
quite happy, in many ways, if the current environment continues for longer.
The pressure is increasing and I think a number of our competitors are feeling
Ahold, which owns Stop & Shop, Giant-Landover, Giant-Carlisle,
Martin’s and Peapod in the U.S., may be in the market for acquisitions in this
country, but is not going to make a deal simply because it can. Mr. Rishton
cynics would say that the only people that benefit out of an M&A transaction
are the shareholders of the acquired company. So the trick is getting the timing
right and the price right."
According to Reuters, Mr. Rishton didn’t
appear anxious that the chains Ahold owns would be among those most adversely
affected by tough competitive conditions. He said that Giant-Carlisle, which
competes directly with Wal-Mart, grew its share of market in the first quarter.
Discussion Questions: What is your assessment of Ahold’s operations in the
U.S.? What competitors do you think would make a good fit for Ahold to acquire?
Do you see any potential that some or all of Ahold’s divisions in the U.S. could
be acquisition targets?