Prospects solely see benefits

David McInerney, CEO of FreshDirect

Source: CNBC

FreshDirect customers have nothing to worry about after the company was bought by the Dutch owner of Stop & Shop and Food Lion, the food delivery company’s CEO said Tuesday.

Ahold Delhaize and Centerbridge Partners, a private equity firm, announced on Wednesday that they would buy FreshDirect. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Ahold Delhaize will acquire a majority stake and Centerbridge Partners will have a minority stake of 20%.

“Hopefully the only differences customers see are the benefits,” said David McInerney, CEO of FreshDirect, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”.

The Dutch company has already gained a foothold in the U.S. grocery e-commerce through Peapod, the country’s first company dedicated to online grocery delivery. However, FreshDirect’s specialty is fresh foods, which make up about 60% of total sales, and it has a higher market share than Peapod in New York State.

McInerney said he appreciates how Ahold Delhaize plans to preserve the e-commerce company’s brand. FreshDirect will keep its name and operate its New York City facility independently.

“I think if we combine the knowledge of both companies we can make it even more competitive and compelling,” said Frans Muller, CEO of Ahold Delhaize.

Stockpiling in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic pushed online grocery sales up, and the trend appears to be continuing. Müller said the pandemic sped Ahold Delhaize’s e-commerce business by several years.

“Being one step ahead … strong double-digit growth, we were naturally attractive as the world is in terms of online food adoption,” McInerney told CNBC’s Becky Quick.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Correction: David McInerney is the CEO of FreshDirect. In a previous version his name was misspelled.

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