Merger of Kroger and Albertsons now in question after FTC files lawsuit

Feb 26, 2024, 9:59 AM

An Albertsons grocery store. (Sarah A. Miller/Idaho Statesman via AP)...

An Albertsons grocery store. (Sarah A. Miller/Idaho Statesman via AP)

(Sarah A. Miller/Idaho Statesman via AP)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a group of attorneys general are taking legal action to block the proposed merger between Kroger and Albertsons. The deal, valued at $24.6 billion, has raised concerns about its impact on consumers and workers.

The FTC alleges that the merger would eliminate competition between Kroger and Albertsons, leading to higher prices for groceries and other essential household items. Consumers would have fewer choices for where to shop for groceries, potentially resulting in lower quality products and services. The loss of competition could also affect the availability of affordable goods for millions of Americans.

Union: History is doomed to repeat itself if Kroger-Albertsons merger happens

Kroger’s acquisition of Albertsons would diminish competition for workers. Grocery store employees would face the risk of lower wages, reduced benefits, and deteriorating working conditions. The merger threatens the ability of employees to secure better pay and improved working conditions.

Kroger operates thousands of stores across 36 states, including regional banners like Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, King Soopers, Kroger and Quality Food Centers (QFC). Albertsons also operates thousands of stores across 35 states with regional names such as Albertsons, Haggen, Jewel-Osco, Pavilions, Safeway and Vons. If the merger were completed, Kroger and Albertsons would jointly operate more than 5,000 stores and approximately 4,000 retail pharmacies, employing nearly 700,000 employees across 48 states.

Both Kroger and Albertsons are the largest employers of union grocery labor in the U.S. They actively compete for workers and often try to recruit employees from each other, especially in local markets where their operations overlap. Currently, most workers for both supermarket chains are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union.

Related news: Kroger, Albertsons selling QFC brand name, over 400 stores in $1.9B deal

The FTC’s administrative complaint and federal court lawsuit aim to prevent the merger pending further review. The concerns raised highlight the potential impact on consumers, workers, and the competitive landscape in the grocery industry.

Bill Kaczaraba is a Digital Content Editor for MyNorthwest.

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Merger of Kroger and Albertsons now in question after FTC files lawsuit