Washington state sues to cease $25 billion merger of Kroger and Albertsons grocery chains, claiming it’ll result in greater costs

Washington state Lawyer Basic Bob Ferguson on Monday sued to dam the proposed merger of Kroger and Albertsons, two of the nation’s largest grocery chains.

Within the go well with filed in King County Superior Court docket, Ferguson argued that the $25-billion deal would hurt shoppers and lift costs, The Seattle Times reported. Kroger and Albertsons have greater than 300 areas within the state and account for greater than half of its grocery gross sales, based on the go well with.

“This merger is bad for Washington shoppers and workers,” Ferguson mentioned in a information launch Monday. “Shoppers will have fewer choices and less competition, and, without a competitive marketplace, they will pay higher prices at the grocery store.”

Kroger, which owns QFC and Fred Meyer and is predicated in Cincinnati, is searching for to amass Albertsons, which owns Safeway and Haggen and is predicated in Boise, Idaho.

In a press release Monday, Kroger mentioned it was pushing again its timeline for closing the deal as a consequence of ongoing dialogue with regulators, together with state attorneys basic and the Federal Commerce Fee. It now anticipates the closure might happen within the first half of its fiscal 12 months, which ends in mid-August.

“While this is longer than we originally thought, we knew it was a possibility and … accounted for such potential timing,” the assertion mentioned.

The corporate claimed the merger will deliver decrease costs for shoppers.

Ferguson’s lawsuit was endorsed by United Meals & Business Staff, Native 3000, which represents Kroger and Albertsons staff in Washington, northeast Oregon and northern Idaho, The Seattle Instances reported.

“Workers, shoppers and our communities need to prevent this proposed mega-merger from taking place,” Yasmin Ashur, a union member who works in an Albertsons grocery retailer, mentioned in a union assertion Monday.

Final 12 months, searching for to clear a path for a merger, Kroger and Albertsons introduced plans to sell more than 400 stores and different property to C&S Wholesale Grocers, a wholesale grocery provider, amid considerations about market dominance.

Kroger and Albertsons agreed to merge in 2022. The grocery chains say they need to merge to compete with Walmart, Amazon and different main firms which have stepped into the grocery enterprise.

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