Washington State Looks to Block Kroger/Albertson Merger

The state of Washington is investing $2.5 million towards efforts to block the proposed merger between grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons. This significant financial commitment underscores the state’s concerns about the potential impact of the merger on consumer prices. The state’s objective is to protect consumer interests and maintain a competitive market landscape, ensuring that residents have access to affordable groceries and household items.

To support their efforts, Washington has hired the prominent law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson to assist in the lawsuit aimed at preventing the merger from moving forward. Colorado AG and the Federal Trade Commission are in step with Washington, filing lawsuits to block the deal. Even though Washington put forth the effort to block the AG case, they have yet to be successful in getting the case thrown out.

While Kroger and Albertsons have argued that the merger is necessary to compete against larger retailers like Walmart and Amazon, state authorities and the FTC remain unconvinced. They contend that the combined entity would control an excessive share of the grocery market in many regions, leading to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers. Not only are Kroger/Albertsons the largest grocer in the state, they also employ over 21,000 people

The AG’s office stated, “The proposed merger will eliminate head-to-head competition between the two largest grocery operators in the state. Ferguson’s lawsuit details that QFC — which is owned by Kroger — considers Safeway/Albertsons as its main competitor in the Seattle area. Across Washington, Albertsons considers either Fred Meyer or QFC — also Kroger owned — its primary competitor in every local market in Washington,”.