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FTC and States Sue to Block Kroger-Albertsons Deal

Feb. 26, 2024
Federal Trade Commission said one grocery executive admitted ‘You are basically creating a monopoly in grocery with the merger.’

The Federal Trade Commission, eight states and Washington D.C. filed suit today (Feb. 26) to block Kroger Co.’s $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons Cos., alleging the deal is anticompetitive.

The petitioners say the merger would lead to higher prices for groceries and lower wages for workers. And selling off 400 or so stores would not blunt the effects.

A news release on the FTC website said “executives for both supermarket chains have conceded that Kroger’s acquisition of Albertsons is anticompetitive, with one executive reacting candidly to the proposed deal: ‘you are basically creating a monopoly in grocery with the merger.’ ”

The proposed deal has been in the works since October of 2022, when Kroger, the leading pure-play grocer, offered $24.6 billion to buy the No. 2 grocer. (Walmart sells more foods and beverages than both companies.) Shareholders of both companies have approved the acquisition.

Immediately a number of states’ attorneys general mounted opposition and the FTC responded critically. Now the issue is in federal court in Portland, Ore.

Together, Kroger-Albertsons would have more than 5,000 stores across the country, according to the FTC, combining local names Kroger, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, King Soopers and Quality Food Centers with Albertsons, Haggen, Jewel-Osco, Pavilions, Safeway and Vons. And that’s after selling an estimated 400 stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., which owns the Piggly Wiggly chain.

The mega grocers say the deal is needed to compete with Amazon and Walmart.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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