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Kroger-Albertsons Merger Moves Ahead

While special dividend OK’d, numerous hurdles remain

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The proposed mega-merger between Kroger (Cincinnati) and Albertsons (Boise Idaho) took a big step forward last week, when the Washington State Supreme Court said it would not review a case brought by that state’s attorney general that tried to stop a dividend payment to Albertsons’ shareholders. But numerous hurdles remain before the $24.6 billion deal can be completed, The New York Times reports.

Since the two largest grocery store chains in the country announced plans to join forces in October, the grocers have argued it will benefit consumers, employees and communities. However, consumer advocates, unions and independent grocers are against the deal, say it is anti-competitive and will result in higher prices for shoppers.

In any event, the companies have said regulatory approval for the transaction won’t happen until early next year and may require the sale or spinoff of hundreds of grocery stores. As a result, some observers are calling the completion of the deal a long shot.

Washington Analysis, a research firm in Washington, D.C., that focuses on political and regulatory policy, put the odds of the merger successfully closing at just 35 percent, the Times reported.

Read more at The New York Times.

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