Dutch retail giant Royal Ahold NV and Belgian rival Delhaize Group on Saturday said they had finalized their mega-merger after US regulatory authorities gave the union the green light.

“With our new management team we are very happy to continue to serve our clients and other shareholders,” said Ahold chief executive officer Dick Boer, who becomes chief executive officer of the merged firm, with Delhaize chief executive Frans Muller to serve as his deputy.

Delhaize chairman Mats Jansson said the two companies were coming together “to create an even stronger international retailer.”

The two groups see themselves as complementary in the US market, where Ahold owns stores located primarily in the northeast with its Stop&Shop and Giant, while Delhaize’s Food Lion and Hannaford are prevalent in the southeast. Between them the retailers have 6,750 stores in Europe and the US and employ 380,000 people.

Based in Zaandam just outside Amsterdam, Ahold announced in June last year it was merging with Delhaize to create one of the world’s largest retail companies with a turnover of more than $59 billion. The pair agreed earlier this month to sell 86 US-based stores to receive approval from the FTC.

It remains to be seen how the merger will impact private brand in the U.S., each retailer maintains a very traditional portfolio of private labels that include brands that are remarkably similar in positioning, pricing, quality and design. Optimization and consolidation would certainly lead to higher profitability and the opportunity to differentiated consumer relevant brands.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.