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The Wall Street Journal has a report - based on a new proxy statement - on the $9.4 billion acquisition of Safeway by Cerberus Capital Management, saying that the "heavily negotiated deal" came after Kroger, in fact, offered more money for the company but had to pull out of the bidding because of concerns about antitrust issues.

According to the story, "Safeway signed a deal with Cerberus on March 5 but gave Kroger a chance to continue its due diligence during a three-week 'go-shop' window. Kroger conducted 'extensive' due diligence and contacted 26 potential buyers of Safeway stores that would likely need to be sold to get antitrust clearance. But the grocery chain eventually bowed out, citing the costs associated with making divestitures. "

The final deal, expected to close later this year, combines Safeway with Cerberus-controlled Albertsons, which is the nation's fifth largest grocery chain.
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