The stock price for Delhaize Group, the Belgian parent of Hannaford Supermarkets, surged Monday on reports that the company is in merger talks with the Dutch owner of competing grocery chain Stop & Shop.

Rumored talks between Delhaize Group and competitor Royal Ahold NV were reported Saturday by Belgian newspapers De Tijd and L’Echo, in which unnamed company insiders described them as being in the preliminary stage. Delhaize Group confirmed merger talks between the two companies in a press release Wednesday.

“These discussions may or may not result in a future transaction,” company officials stated in the release. “The company will communicate material updates, if any, in accordance with regulatory requirements.”

Delhaize Group’s stock, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DEG, increased in price by 14.2 percent, or $2.87, in trading Monday, finishing the day at $23.04 per share.

Delhaize Group owns Scarborough-based Hannaford and North Carolina-based Food Lion grocery chains in the U.S., while Royal Ahold owns the Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop and Maryland-based Giant chains. Hannaford and Stop & Shop overlap in a number of New England markets, but there are no Stop & Shop stores in Maine.

Delhaize Group did not respond to questions Monday about the reported merger talks, saying it “does not comment or speculate on market rumors.”

The Belgian newspapers did not offer any details about how the merger would be structured, such as whether the smaller Delhaize Group’s stores would be rebranded with Royal Ahold brands.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: jcraiganderson

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