AG Mayes seeks community beefs on Albertsons-Kroger merger
A "community listening session" hosted by Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes on Tuesday in Tucson will focus on the proposed $25 billion merger between grocery giants Albertsons and Kroger — owners of stores such as Safeway and Fry's.
Mayes is probing whether to attempt to block the combining of the chains, which would result in a single company controlling more than 5,000 stores across the country, and become the second-largest grocery operation after Walmart.
The two-hour meeting will begin at 11 a.m. at Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway. Those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP online.
The merger, expected to be finalized in 2024, was initiated by the companies last October, and has resulted in lawsuits by customers and a review by the Federal Trade Commission. Federal law prohibits mergers with results that "may be substantially to lessen competition, or tend to create a monopoly."
Arizona's attorney general is weighing whether to have the state join in efforts to block the merger on competitive grounds.
"AG Mayes held a listening session on this topic yesterday in Kingman. Additional listening sessions will be announced in locations across Arizona in the coming weeks," her office said last Thursday.
In Arizona, Kroger operates the Smith's and Fry's Foods chains, while Albertsons operates the stores under that name as well as the Safeway chain.
Albertsons bought Safeway in 2015, and was required to sell off about 150 stores as a condition of that merger, in order to preserve some competition in the marketplace. Among them were stores in Tucson that were purchased by the regional Haggen chain. That company was overextended by the acquisition, and filed for bankruptcy after several months. Albertsons then regained control of the stores.