The two largest grocery store chains in the country, Kroger and Albertsons, announced on Friday that they would combine through a $24.6 billion acquisition.
The combination is anticipated to draw close attention from federal regulators and opponents because it would create a new grocery behemoth at a time of increasing food prices. Over the same month last year, supermarket prices rose 13% in September.
Kroger is the biggest supermarket company in the US, employing 420,000 people and operating more than 2,700 stores, including Ralphs, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, and King Soopers. Albertsons is the second-largest supermarket chain in the US, with almost 2,300 stores and 290,000 employees, including Safeway and Vons.
They run into one other in a few markets, mostly in the west of the country. It would be necessary to spin off up to 375 locations into a distinct firm, according to the corporations, in order to implement their agreement.
In a statement made on Friday, Kroger said it would spend $1 billion on raising compensation and benefits for workers and “reinvesting nearly half a billion dollars of cost savings from synergies to decrease prices for customers.”
Major competitors for both companies include Walmart, the largest grocery retailer in the nation, and Amazon, which offers online delivery. Following an unsuccessful effort to merge with Rite Aid in 2018, the Albertsons supermarket chain merged with rival Safeway in 2015, and subsequently went public in 2020.
Because of their disproportionate influence on consumer prices and competition, megadeals have drawn criticism from antitrust authorities during the Biden administration.
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