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Dow Jones quoted a spokesman for Delhaize - the Belgian supermarket retailer that also owns Hannaford Bros, Food Lion, and Kash n' Karry in the US - as saying that it is not interested in "large takeovers," a statement that could rule out any interest in acquiring Bi-Lo and/or Bruno's from Ahold.

Ahold announced last week that those two chains in the southeast US are on the sales block as the company tries to solve its debt problems after a year in which its image and financial status suffered from a billion-dollar accounting scandal.

However, while it doesn't have any such scandal to deal with, Delhaize also seems to be in the debt-reduction mode. "Our priority is on cutting debt," said Delhaize spokesman Hans Michiels. "We look at possibilities but only for add-on acquisitions in areas where we are already active," he said.
KC's View:
Hard to say if this is a completely non-starter, or just a feint to distract attention as Delhaize tries to figure out whether to make a move on the Ahold assets.

While whether the numbers involved make sense is a decision that Delhaize has to make, we will say this. We are consistently impressed with the management and marketing/merchandising implementation that takes place at Delhaize USA…as well as with the level of commitment and savvy demonstrated by the company's Brussels-based CEO, Pierre-Olivier Beckers.

If they got Bruno's and/or Bi-Lo, they'd make it competitive, and they'd make it work.