MARKET talk that Tesco should snap up Dutch rival Royal Ahold resurfaced yesterday, after analysts said that such a deal would boost the retail giant’s US presence.<br /><br />Broker ING yesterday issued a note entitled “Buying Ahold would actually make sense for Tesco”.<br /><br />ING said that a potential £13.5bn bid would be easily financed by Tesco’s balance sheet and would push its 2011 pre-tax profits up by 31 per cent.<br /><br />Peter Brockwell and John David Roeg at ING said: “The US market is too big for Tesco to ignore, yet any attempt to increase the scale of Fresh & Easy could prove very risky. <br /><br />“Ahold should be viewed as a one-off opportunity to acquire an undervalued asset at a low point in the US consumer cycle.”<br /><br />Buying Ahold would add around 700 US grocery stores the 115 Fresh & Easy stores that Tesco has opened since 2007.<br /><br />A Tesco spokesman declined to comment. But Ahold’s shares climbed 1.34 per cent yesterday to €8.69 (£7.82) on the back of market talk. <br /><br />Ahold’s share price was decimated in 2003 after it admitted $500m (£304.6m) worth of accounting irregularities. Back then Tesco was believed to be mulling a bid for the group to aid its international expansion.