Kroger, Albertsons $25 billion merger fraught with roadblocks

By Thomson Reuters Feb 26, 2024 | 11:12 AM

(Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on Monday it was suing to block Kroger’s near $25 billion purchase of rival grocer Albertsons as it would eliminate “fierce competition.”

The deal, which was announced in October 2022, has come under scrutiny from various lawmakers and consumer groups who have noted that the merger could drive up prices in the grocery sector making it difficult for customers during a highly inflationary period.

Here is a timeline of the major events that unfolded since the announcement of the deal:

Date Events

Oct. 14, Kroger says it will acquire rival Albertsons in

2022 a near $25 billion deal. The companies are

willing to divest some stores to ease anti-trust


Oct. 18, U.S. senators who scrutinize antitrust issues

2022 express “serious concerns” about the merger and

say they would hold a hearing in November

Nov. 2, The attorneys general of Washington D.C.,

2022 California and Illinois file a lawsuit in a

federal court seeking to block Albertsons’ $4

billion dividend payout to shareholders before

the closing of the merger

Nov. 4, A state court in Washington temporarily blocks

2022 Albertsons from paying a $4 billion dividend to


Nov. 8, A U.S. federal court denies requests to

2022 temporarily block Albertsons dividend payment.

However, the payment remains on hold due to the

block from a state court in Washington

Nov. 10, A state court in Washington to extend a

2022 temporary block that has prevented Albertsons

from paying the dividend. A hearing for Nov. 17

was set to further consider whether to prolong

the existing order

Nov. 16, The Washington state court postpones a scheduled

2022 case hearing to Dec. 9

Nov. 29, Skeptical lawmakers from across the political

2022 spectrum question executives at Kroger and

Albertsons amid concerns the tie-up could boost

already high food prices

Dec. 6, Kroger receives a request for additional

2022 information from the FTC as part of the

regulatory review process

Dec. 10, Albertsons says Washington State Court denied a

2022 request of preliminary injunction by the state’s

Attorney General to prevent the company from

paying the special dividend and has extended the

existing temporary restraining order until Dec.


Dec. 16, Washington’s state supreme court blocks

2022 Albertsons from paying a special dividend ahead

of its acquisition by Kroger and extends a block

put in place by a lower court

Dec. 21, The Washington Supreme Court to review on Feb. 9

2022 the state attorney general’s appeal to

permanently stop the company’s blocked $4

billion special dividend

Jan. 17, Washington state’s highest court allows

2023 Albertsons to pay the $4 billion dividend

Jan. 19, Albertsons announces special dividend to be paid

2023 on Jan. 20

Aug. 16, Officials from seven U.S. states write to U.S.

2023 antitrust enforcers to ask for the proposed

Kroger-Albertsons merger to be stopped

Sept. 08, Kroger says it would sell over 400 grocery

2023 stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers in an effort to

get regulatory approval and says it may need C&S

to buy up to an additional 237 stores in certain

geographies to get regulatory nod

Oct. 12, California Attorney General Rob Bonta says his

2023 office was concerned about the deal and may sue

to stop it

Dec. 12, Six U.S. lawmakers write to FTC expressing their

2023 opposition to the merger

Jan. 15, Kroger and Albertsons say they plan to close the

2024 deal in the first half of Kroger’s fiscal 2024

instead of early 2024

Jan. 16, Washington state’s attorney general has sued to

2024 block the deal

Feb. 14, Colorado’s attorney general files a lawsuit

2024 seeking to block the deal

Feb. 20, FTC and a group of states could sue as soon as

2024 next week to block the deal, Bloomberg News


Feb. 26, FTC files an anti-trust lawsuit to block the

2024 deal

(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)