Ocado shares jump over 10% on Kroger/Albertsons merger report

Ocado delivery vans lined up prior to dispatch
Delivery vans lined up prior to dispatch at the Ocado CFC (Customer Fulfilment Centre) in Andover, Britain May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Shares in British online supermarket and technology group Ocado (OCDO.L) were up over 10% in late London trade on Thursday on hopes the company could benefit if U.S. grocery giant Kroger Co (KR.N) merges with smaller rival Albertsons Companies Inc (ACI.N).

Kroger is Ocado's biggest client.

Kroger is in talks to merge with Albertsons, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Ocado struck a deal with Kroger in 2018 to help the U.S. firm ratchet up its delivery business with the construction of robotically operated warehouses.

The initial deal saw Kroger identify at least 20 sites to build automated warehouses, or customer fulfilment centres (CFCs) as Ocado calls them, in the United States.

Ocado reported in May that six Kroger CFCs were live.

Ocado could not be immediately reached for comment.

Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Susan Fenton

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