(Oct. 6) Dutch retailer Ahold NV may be considering a sale of its U.S. Foodservice unit.

According to media reports in the United Kingdom on Oct. 1, a number of potential buyers were preparing bids for the Columbia, Md.-broadline foodservice distributor, whose 2003 accounting scandal led to massive personnel shakeups and financial restructuring not only there but at Ahold.

The Business, a newspaper based in the United Kingdom, said several would-be bidders have voiced interest in purchasing U.S. Foodservice, which reported sales of $3.8 billion last year.

Ahold, currently involved in merger negotiations with Delhaize, a rival retailer based in Belgium, likely would decide soon on a strategy for U.S. Foodservice.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of things going on with Ahold now, with U.S. Food and a potential deal with Delhaize, and all those have big implications for the U.S. market eventually,” said Neil Stern, retail analyst and partner in Chicago-based consultant McMillan/Doolittle LLP.

Ahold sold off several U.S. properties in the wake of the U.S. Foodservice scandal. However, Stern stopped short of saying the Netherlands-based retail giant had decided to pull out of the U.S. market entirely.

“I don’t know that’s the case,” Stern said. “I do think that the new corporate (structure) is what is driving this thing right now.”

Reported to be among interested parties are South African foodservice group Bidvest, which bought Ahold’s European wholesale arm, Deli XL; and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which bought Ahold’s Boston-based Stop & Shop Cos. retail chain. Cerberus Capital Management, which was part of the coalition that bought Boise, Idaho-based Albertson’s Inc. in June, also was reported to be interested.

Ahold shares closed at $10.65 on Oct. 2 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock had a yearly range of $6.72-10.79.