Ahold Buys Controlling Stake in Peapod

Troubled online grocer Peapod found a lifeline Friday when Netherlands-based Ahold agreed to buy 51 percent of the company for $73 million.

As part of the agreement, Chicago-based Peapod will continue to operate as an independent company, while Ahold will supply the company with goods, services and fast-pick fulfillment centers.

Ahold owns five supermarket chains in the eastern United States including Stop & Shop and Edwards.

Peapod will use mezzanine storage areas at Ahold stores as fulfillment centers, the companies said. They plan to open 50 such centers over the coming years in the hopes of enhancing both retail and online customer service.

Last month, four venture capital firms withdrew a potential $120 million investment offer to Peapod after company President/CEO Bill Malloy abruptly resigned. The company was left with just $3 million in operating funds.
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