The proposed $24.6 billion Kroger, Albertsons merger is facing another blockade, this one from a group of state officials, reports Reuters.
The secretaries of states from Colorado, Arizona, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont wrote Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan asking the agency to stop the merger. The group said the deal would allow Kroger and Albertsons to control a quarter of the U.S. food retail market.
"We are strongly opposed to this merger and urge you to stop this corporate consolidation that is draining Americans of their hard-earned wages and livelihoods," the letter said.
A Kroger spokesperson said the merger would be beneficial for both store employees and consumers, and that if it is blocked only Walmart and Amazon would benefit.
Last week it was reported that the FTC was looking into whether the proposed Kroger, Albertsons merger would put pressure on suppliers, which in turn would hurt smaller grocery chains.
FTC antitrust officials have reached out to “experts in farming, food deserts, and smaller grocery chains” to learn more about the pricing implications of the proposed merger. Among the groups the FTC has reportedly reached out to are the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and the Centers for Science in the Public Interest.
The FTC has also met with the National Grocers Association (NGA), and with retailers and wholesalers.
The NGA recently said it was worried about the proposed spin-off of up to 650 Kroger and Albertsons stores. Kroger has been talking to potential suitors, but NGA would like to see smaller businesses get an opportunity to participate in negotiations.