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Screen Shot 2023-08-09 at 3.10.24 PM.png Kroger | Albertsons

Kroger, Albertsons CEOs tout merger together in new video

McMullen and Sankaran extol benefits, while antitrust investigation still looms

In a new video shot inside a King Soopers store, the CEOs of Kroger and Albertsons discussed benefits they say their companies’ pending merger will bring to consumers, employees, farmers, and communities.

“The combination of Kroger and Albertsons is about creating more opportunities — more opportunities for our customers to find the food that they love at lower prices, more opportunities for associates to grow their careers with us now and in the future, and the growth extends well outside of our doors,” said Rodney McMullen, CEO of Kroger. “We see more opportunities for our farmers to see more of their crops in more places, and more opportunities to bring communities across America the food families need to thrive.”

The video, posted on LinkedIn by Vivek Sankaran, CEO of Albertsons Cos., echoes an editorial that he and McMullen penned for the Cincinnati Enquirer earlier this year. Neither CEO provides any updates on the merger’s progress within the video,  instead seeking to sell the public on its potential benefits.

“For our customers, it’s about offering lower prices and more choices,” Sankaran said in the video. “Together we will provide a wider and better selection of the products our customers need, want and love, with all the personalized offers that help families everywhere put food on the table.”

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The merger will also create opportunities for employees, he said, seeking to counter claims by the unions that the merger would cost jobs and put pressure on union workers’ wages and benefits.

“This combination will secure good-paying union jobs, and it’ll provide our associates the incredible opportunity to create the future of food retail,” said Sankaran.

McMullen and Sankaran also thanked the companies’ employees for their efforts at the end of the video.

McMullen sees merger ‘on track’: report

The proposed $24.6 billion merger, scheduled to close early next year, is currently under antitrust review, just as the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice appear to be more closely scrutinizing such mega-deals. Both the United Food and Commercial Workers and Teamsters unions have spoken out against the merger, as has the National Grocers Association.

The companies previously said they may divest as many as 650 stores nationwide in order to satisfy antitrust concerns and complete the merger as negotiated.

In an interview with The Oregonian that was published this week, McMullen said the merger was still on track to gain regulatory approval and close as scheduled. He also said Kroger has been in discussion with several potential buyers for the stores that would be divested.

“We’ve been very pleased with the level of interest,” he told The Oregonian, noting that the company was seeking a buyer or buyers with supermarket operating experience, with enough capital to operate the stores successfully and with a commitment to recognizing the existing employee unions.

Several companies have appeared in various reports as potential buyers, including Ahold Delhaize and Amazon/Whole Foods.

Recent activity surrounding the merger includes a judge’s rejection of an effort by several states to block the proposed deal, and news about the potential $146 million payout that a successful merger would provide for Albertsons executives.

As previously reported, the merger would combine the nation’s two largest traditional supermarket companies, which combined operate nearly 5,000 stores, along with 66 distribution centers and 52 manufacturing facilities. McMullen would serve as chairman and CEO of the combined companies.

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