Safeway and Albertsons Win Conditional FTC Merger Approval

Safeway and Albertsons Win Conditional FTC Merger Approval

PLEASANTON, CA & BOISE, ID – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has granted approval to the Safeway/Albertsons $9.2 billion merger on the condition that the retailers complete the sales of 168 stores.

As we previously reported, Safeway and Albertsons agreed to divest the 168 stores throughout Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, California and Oregon to four bidders in an attempt to win approval from the FTC.

Edith Ramirez, FTC ChairwomanIn a statement, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said, “Consumers everywhere rely on local supermarkets for their weekly shopping needs. Absent a remedy, this acquisition would likely lead to higher prices and lower quality for supermarket shoppers in 130 communities. This settlement will ensure that consumers in those communities continue to benefit from competition among their local supermarkets.”

Prior to the announced merger, Albertson’s LLC operated 630 supermarkets, New Albertson’s Inc. operated 445 supermarkets and Safeway operated 1,332 supermarkets, according to the FTC.

Under this proposed settlement:

  • Haggen Holdings, LLC will acquire 146 Albertsons and Safeway stores in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington
  • Supervalu Inc. will acquire two Albertsons stores in Washington
  • Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. will acquire 12 Albertsons and Safeway stores in Texas
  • Associated Food Stores Inc. will acquire eight Albertsons and Safeway stores in Montana and Wyoming

The FTC expects that Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. will assign its operating rights in the 12 Texas stores it is acquiring to RLS Supermarkets, LLC (doing business as Minyard Food Stores) and that Associated Food Stores Inc. will assign its rights in the eight Montana and Wyoming stores it is acquiring to Missoula Fresh Market LLC, Ridley’s Family Markets, Inc., and Stokes Inc.

As a condition of the settlement, the divestitures to Haggen must be completed within 150 days of the date of the merger, to Supervalu Inc. within 100 days, and to Associated Food Stores Inc. and Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. within 60 days.

Additionally, the settlement includes an Order to Maintain Assets, which will help to ensure that Albertsons maintains the stores until they are divested, and the appointment of a monitor to oversee the merging parties’ compliance with their obligations under the settlement agreement.

The Commission voted 5-0 and will publish the consent agreement package soon. The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through February 26, 2015. At that time, the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final.

Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow for the latest on this developing story.