FTC, Calif. AG Lawsuits to Block Kroger-Albertson’s Supermarket Merger

by Katy Grimes at californiaglobe.com

The Federal Trade Commission announced in late February it had filed a lawsuit to block the largest proposed supermarket merger in U.S. history—Kroger Company’s $24.6 billion acquisition of the Albertsons Companies, Inc., alleging that the deal is anticompetitive.

The “Largest supermarket merger in U.S. history will eliminate competition and raise grocery prices for millions of Americans, while harming tens of thousands of workers,” the FTC said.

The FTC charged that the proposed deal will eliminate fierce competition between Kroger and Albertsons, leading to higher grocery prices, diminished quality products, fewer product choices, fewer in-store services, as well as the loss of competition, as they are head-to-head competitors.

Kroger hit back with this statement:

“Contrary to the FTC’s statements, blocking Kroger’s merger with Albertsons Companies will actually harm the very people the FTC purports to serve: America’s consumers and workers.

Kroger’s business model is to take costs out of the business and invest in lowering prices for customers. Kroger has reduced prices every year since 2003, resulting in $5 billion invested to lower prices and a 5% reduction in gross margin over this period. This business model is immediately applied to merger companies. Kroger has a proven track record of lowering prices so more customers benefit from fresh, affordable food, and our proposed merger with Albertsons will mean even lower prices and more choices for America’s consumers.

The FTC’s decision makes it more likely that America’s consumers will see higher food prices and fewer grocery stores at a time when communities across the country are already facing high inflation and food deserts. In fact, this decision only strengthens larger, non-unionized retailers like Walmart, Costco and Amazon by allowing them to further increase their overwhelming and growing dominance of the grocery industry.”