Ahold is in talks to buy the US' Alliant Foodservice for $2.2 billion. If Ahold is able to take Alliant Foodservice over, it will become the second largest retail operation in the world, overtaking Carrefour. Its recent strong interim results show that the firm's multi-channel strategy seems to be working well, tapping into both supply chain synergies and consumer trends. However, its real strength lies in the long term.