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First hurdle emerges in Kroger/Albertsons deal as lawmakers plan antitrust hearing

kroger albertsons divisions
Kroger and Albertsons together would operate nearly 5,000 in the U.S.

Several lawmakers have raised concerns about Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.’s BB #:100073 proposed acquisition of Boise-based Albertsons. BB #:193326 

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) announced they plan to hold a hearing in November to examine the proposed merger.  

A statement released by Klobuchar said:  

“As the Chair and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, we have serious concerns about the proposed transaction between Kroger and Albertsons. The grocery industry is essential, and we must ensure that it remains competitive so that American families can afford to put food on the table. We will hold a hearing focused on this proposed merger and the consequences consumers may face if this deal moves forward.” 

Kroger announced the merger on Oct. 14, and in the announcement the companies said a new company, SpinCo, will be established to divest as many as 375 stores. The move is seen as an effort to head off objections and smooth the way through the regulatory approval process.  

Kroger, which operates 2,742 stores, and Albertsons, which operates 2,277 stores, according to rankings by Supermarket News, combined would make the largest grocer in the U.S. Bentonville, AR-based Walmart Inc. has 4,662 stores in the U.S., as of Oct. 3.

Kroger responded to the lawmakers’ challenge with a statement, according to Reuters:  

“We welcome the opportunity to outline how this transaction will benefit America’s consumers by expanding access to fresh, affordable food,” the company said. 


Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.