The anticipated merger of U.S. grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons, along with the sale of assets to C&S Wholesale Grocers, will be delayed due to ongoing discussions with regulators. The companies released a joint statement on Monday, revealing that, as a result of continued talks with the Federal Trade Commission and individual state Attorneys General, they now expect the deal to close in the first half of Kroger's fiscal 2024.
Initially, the companies had anticipated closing the transactions earlier in the calendar year. However, due to the need for further dialogue with regulators concerning the proposed merger and divestiture plan, a new timeline has been established.
In October, Kroger put forth a proposal to acquire Albertsons, and in September, the two companies entered into a definitive agreement with C&S Wholesale Grocers for the sale of select stores and other assets. These actions were intended to facilitate their planned tie-up.
Regarding the extended timeline, the companies stated that they were aware of the possibility and had already factored it into their merger agreement and divestiture plan.
Kroger has emphasized its commitment to investment in various areas. They plan to allocate $500 million towards reducing prices starting from the first day the merger is finalized. Additionally, they have pledged to protect union jobs, with no intentions of closing stores or laying off frontline associates. Kroger also intends to invest an additional $1 billion to increase wages and enhance comprehensive benefits for all associates following the completion of the merger.