Lawsuit Pending From Washington State AG in Kroger/Albertsons Merger
Back in October of 2022, the Kroger/Albertsons merger news broke. After over a year, they are still dealing with pushback regarding this $24.6 billion deal. Now, a lawsuit from the Washington State AG Bob Ferguson has been filed to block the proposed merger. Kroger and Albertsons have been working to meet all the FTC requirements for a merger of this size, which included selling 413 Kroger and Albertsons locations to C&S. All FTC requirements were met in December. The deadline for the FTC to take action was December 15th, which has passed without any action from the FTC. As of now, they have a few options: request additional requirements prior to the closure of the deal, take legal action and block the deal or let the deal move forward and end the investigation.
In response to the lawsuit out of Washington State, Kroger sent the following statement, “If the merger is blocked, the non-union retailers like Walmart and Amazon will become even more powerful and unaccountable – and that’s bad for everyone. Any decision to attempt to enjoin the transaction now would be premature as we are engaged in productive discussions with the FTC and state Attorneys General about how this merger will bring lower prices to more of America’s consumers who are still reeling from high grocery prices.” Washington wasn’t the only state potentially taking legal action against the merger, back in October California submitted a lawsuit against the merger with concerns regarding lower farmer payments, higher consumer prices and impact on grocery workers as well as food and pharmacy deserts. There have been other states voicing concerns such as Colorado, as well as six U.S. lawmakers who sent a letter to the FTC in opposition of the deal. The merger saga continues, as Kroger and Albertsons work through public and political resistance.