** Bernstein talks up potential merger between Ahold Delhaize's US business and Kroger as industry consolidation chatter back in focus after Amazon's deal to buy Whole Foods
** "We expect Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods will accelerate consolidation trends in US market"
** Bernstein adds that AD-Kroger deal would combine 4th and the 2nd largest US grocers with sales of $180 billion
** Bernstein analysts say AD management may not be receptive to deal, leading to a possibility of a hostile takeover
** "A possible outcome would be Kroger launching hostile takeover of entire AD business, with the intention of spinning out the European assets in an IPO at a later stage," analysts add