Ahold Foodservice Unit Getting Bids

AMSTERDAM -- The bidding war for U.S. Foodservice, the distribution subsidiary of Royal Ahold here, has begun, with a number of private equity groups throwing their hats in the ring, according to a report yesterday from Reuters.

The bidders reportedly include a private equity consortium of Bain Capital, Blackstone Group, and Wellspring Capital Management, in a deal that could fetch more than $6 billion. Reuters reported that sources close to the process said Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. have also teamed to bid for the unit. Buyout firm Thomas H. Lee Partners is also said to be in the game, but sources said it was not known whom it had allied with.

The bidding is only in the first round, sources said.

Columbia, Md.-based U.S. Foodservice employs 27,000 and has 70 distribution centers throughout the United States, with customers ranging from McDonald's Corp. to neighborhood delis.
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