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Attorney General Kris Mayes yesterday announced that her office "is launching an anti-trust investigation of the proposed merger between The Kroger Co., parent company of Smith's and Fry’s Food & Drug Stores, and Albertsons Companies, which operates supermarkets under the Albertsons and Safeway brands in Arizona."

“Hardworking Arizonans struggle daily to put fresh, healthy food on the table for their families and have already suffered through devastating price increases over the past year," she said.  "In addition to skyrocketing prices, the proposed merger raises questions about the potential for store closures that could force consumers to travel farther for groceries – possibly creating food deserts that disproportionately affect minority communities.”

In addition, Mayes said, ""Thousands of employees will also wonder whether their jobs will still exist if the merger is finalized. And even if they remain employed, workers may have to worry whether their wages or benefits will decrease.  Farmers and ranchers also fear that a consolidated supermarket giant might wield unfair buying power that would force them out of business in favor of corporate producers. I will fight to ensure that Arizona consumers, workers, and local grocery producers are not harmed."

Kroger and Albertsons announced the $24.6 billion merger last October.  It is expected that it will take at least a year to clear any regulatory hurdles before the deal is closed.

KC's View:

And the lawyers get richer…