The intended merger will mean that the COOP supermarkets will be converted to the PLUS formula. In that case, the supermarket entrepreneurs of COOP will become members of the cooperative of PLUS.

The proposed merger is subject to various approvals, including the following:

  • the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM);
  • the Council of Members of COOP;
  • the General Assembly of PLUS.

It is by no means certain in advance that these required approvals will be obtained without further ado. PLUS and COOP seem to expect few problems here and indicate that they will have completed the transaction in early 2022.

For the individual entrepreneurs of COOP and PLUS, the proposed change will have a major impact on their operations.

  • existing PLUS entrepreneurs may see a competitor appear under the same formula in their market area;
  • existing COOP entrepreneurs will have to convert the store, with all the associated costs and divestments.

In the meantime, numerous supermarket formulas have been taken over and “swallowed up”. These include Edah, Super de Boer, C1000, Emté and more recently DEEN. In each of those processes there were supermarket entrepreneurs who successfully resisted the transformation. Ludwig & Van Dam successfully assisted supermarket entrepreneurs.

  • See the successful resistance of an Emté entrepreneur who was forced to convert to COOP, but preferred to convert to PLUS:
  • See also the successful resistance of an Albert Heijn entrepreneur against the conversion of a DEEN to the Albert Heijn formula:

Transition processes in supermarket formulas are complicated processes that can turn out very differently per supermarket entrepreneur and per market area. The legal merits are complex and often subject to short deadlines and with far-reaching consequences. Expert legal assistance to supermarket entrepreneurs is an absolute must here.

mr. A.W. Dolphijn
Ludwig & Van Dam lawyers, franchise legal advice.
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