Kroger and Albertsons intend to divest up to 300 locations, particularly in regions where the grocery chains overlap, in order to avoid antitrust objections to Kroger’s $25 billion acquisition of Albertson.
The merger, announced in October, would unite the two largest grocery chains in the United States into a single company with almost 5,000 shops throughout the country.
It is expected that the combination would create a supermarket behemoth with a 36% share of the US market at a time when inflation is still tightening food costs.
“If Kroger’s proposed acquisition of Albertsons is completed, the businesses’ combined power will be exploited to raise grocery prices, lower food quality, destroy employment, shut stores, and give less choice to customers owing to geographic overlap,” the lawsuit claims.
As part of its regulatory evaluation of the proposed merger, the Federal Trade Commission sought further information from Kroger in December. The FTC investigation is currently ongoing.
According to Reuters, the two supermarket chains are attempting to alleviate these fears by closing stores in areas where both businesses presently operate, a move that may be valued up to $1 billion.
Kroger and Albertsons stated in their papers that their combined businesses would control just around 13% of the US supermarket industry.