LOCAL NEWS

King County judge temporarily halts Albertsons merger payout

Nov 4, 2022, 7:21 AM | Updated: 7:25 am
albertsons...
Kroger logo is seen on the shop in Streator, United States on October 15, 2022. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A King County Court Commissioner has approved a temporary restraining order request filed by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to block Albertsons Inc. from paying a massive dividend to investors Monday, Nov. 7.

If the dividend were to go through on that date, it would come before federal and state regulators review the company’s proposed merger with Kroger Inc. The two grocery giants agreed to merge over a $20 billion deal — which would allow grocery store Kroger to acquire Albertsons and allow Albertsons to pay out shareholders $4 billion in dividends.

WA fears grocery merger monopoly as inflation worsens

Ferguson and six other Attorneys General around the country have expressed concern paying billions in dividends would make Albertsons financially unable to operate during the merger review period effectively. And they worry that could cause problems for employees and consumers.

“[Albertsons and Kroger] control hundreds of grocery stores,” Ferguson said. “In my part of North Seattle, I’ve got two grocery stores, almost within walking distance of each other. They are owned by each of these two competitors. And if those competitors are no longer competing, guess what’s going to happen, prices are going to go up, and workers will have fewer opportunities.”

The Food at Home Index, an approximate evaluation of grocery store costs, reported an increase in food prices by 0.7% in September and a stunning 13% over the last year, according to the Consumer Price Index.

According to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey done in January, as many as 42 million Americans said they could not afford to buy enough food.

Kroger currently owns Fred Meyer and QFC stores. Albertsons owns Safeway and Haggen.

The next step for the Attorney General is to go before a King County Superior Court Judge to issue a preliminary court injunction. That action would completely stop any dividend payout until the judge can rule on the underlying complaint filed about the merger.

“It’s a huge victory; there’s no other way to put it,” said Ferguson. “It puts a stop to this $4 billion payment that had the potential to have huge implications for Americans when they go grocery shopping and for workers who work in those stores.”

The state legal team will next face the judge on Thursday, Nov.10.

Local News

Virginia Mason Health...
Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Patient data among files accessed in Virginia Mason Franciscan Health data breach

A hacking incident in October that impacted workers at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and its patients was determined to be ransomware.
1 day ago
Starbucks union...
L.B. Gilbert

NLRB: Starbucks violated labor laws, must negotiate with Roastery union

A victory for workers at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery after the NLRB ruled Starbucks violated labor law by refusing to bargain with the union.
1 day ago
cold weather...
L.B. Gilbert

Pierce County Transit gives free rides to warming centers

Pierce County Transit is offering free rides to warming centers and shelters this week to help those who need access to transportation.
1 day ago
registration...
Micki Gamez

WA’s new vehicle registration law reinvents itself for modern world

Washington State law will now allow you to take a photo of your vehicle registration and store it on your cell phone.
1 day ago
Red Robin burger (Photo from KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Red Robin to pay $400K after alleged violations of scheduling, wage theft laws at Northgate location

Seattle-based Red Robin has agreed to pay more than $400,000 to employees for alleged violations of secure scheduling and wage theft laws at its Northgate restaurant.
1 day ago
Photo from Seattle Police Blotter...
Darren Dedo

Man tears off wheel while fleeing Seattle police in stolen moving van

A man was arrested Wednesday morning after trying to run away from Seattle Police officers in a stolen U-Haul, tearing off the wheel in the process.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
King County judge temporarily halts Albertsons merger payout