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The lawsuit was supposed to be filed in a state court on Thursday.

Kroger, Albertsons merger faces lawsuit from Washington State AG

Meanwhile, FTC is not expected to weigh in on deal until February

Kroger and Albertsons continue to get heat from states regarding the companies’ pending $24.6 billion merger.

The Washington State attorney general is now expected to file a lawsuit to block the deal, reports Bloomberg News.

The lawsuit was supposed to be filed in a state court on Thursday. The news comes after Axios reported that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was not expected to make a decision on the Kroger, Albertsons merger until February.

In December, the two grocers informed the FTC they had met all the antitrust requirements for the merger, including selling 413 Kroger and Albertsons stores to C&S Wholesale grocers. It was then up to the agency to make a decision by Dec. 15. 

The FTC has three options: close its investigation and let the deal proceed; ask for certain requirements before the merger is approved; or take legal action in the federal district court and block the deal.

But the FTC missed the Dec. 15 deadline and so far has delayed any action.

In regards to the Washington State lawsuit, Kroger emailed the following statement to Supermarket News:

“If the merger is blocked, the non-union retailers like Walmart and Amazon will become even more powerful and unaccountable – and that’s bad for everyone. Any decision to attempt to enjoin the transaction now would be premature as we are engaged in productive discussions with the FTC and state Attorneys General about how this merger will bring lower prices to more of America’s consumers who are still reeling from high grocery prices.”

Back in October, California was readying its own lawsuit against the merger deal with the following concerns: higher prices for consumers, lower payments to California farmers, the possibility of food and pharmacy deserts, and the impact on grocery workers. However, there has been no further news on whether a lawsuit was filed.

Some states have held town hall meetings where workers and the public have voiced their concerns about the merger. The most recent one happened in Colorado, and the tone was so negative that both Kroger and Albertsons came out with statements in defense of the megadeal. Both retailers said they thought the meeting was full of misleading information.

Additionally, six U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to the FTC protesting the deal. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) along with representatives Summer Lee (D-Pa.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) all signed the letter, which claims the divestiture of 413 Kroger and Albertsons stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers does not do enough to calm the negative impacts the merger would have on consumers, workers, and the grocery industry as a whole.

 

 

 

 

 

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