Royal Ahold (NYSE: AHO), the international food provider, today announced its wholly owned subsidiary U.S. Foodservice(TM) (USF) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire PYA/Monarch, a major foodservice distributor in the southeast of the United States. PYA/Monarch is currently a subsidiary of Sara Lee Corporation. Combined with USF, Ahold foodservice sales in the US should exceed USD 12 billion in 2001. The total consideration to be paid for the acquisition amounts to USD 1.57 billion. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including the need to obtain regulatory approvals. Closing is expected in fourth quarter 2000.Ahold President & CEO Cees van der Hoeven said the acquisition of PYA/Monarch is 'fully in line with our international growth strategy and with Ahold's ambition to become the world's best multi-channel food provider. Our company continues to grow profitably, organically and through acquisitions in three market channels. First, through its retail store operations -- selling directly to the consumer. Second, its foodservice operations -- serving the needs of the fast-growing out of home market. Third, in e-commerce. Today's transaction clearly strengthens the market position of U.S. Foodservice, acquired by Ahold in spring 2000.'