Kroger has received a second request for information from the Federal Trade Commission on its $24.6 billion deal to acquire Albertsons, potentially dragging out the mega-merger approval process.
Kroger said Tuesday that the second request extends the initial 30-day waiting period for an antitrust review following the filing of a merger transaction with the FTC and Department of Justice antitrust division under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (HSR).
The request for more information on the proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger, unveiled by the two grocers on Oct. 14, signals that the FTC holds significant antitrust concerns and seeks a much deeper investigation, which could extend the review by months and the time to finalize the transaction by a year.
Kroger and Albertsons have said they expect to close the deal in early 2024, pending federal and state regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.
“Kroger looks forward to realizing the compelling benefits this merger will offer, including enhancing competition, lowering prices for customers, improving access to fresh food, creating opportunities to continue investing in our associates and securing the long-term future of union jobs,” Cincinnati-based Kroger said in a statement on Tuesday. “We will continue to work cooperatively with the Federal Trade Commission as it conducts its review of the merger, including developing a thoughtful divestiture plan. Kroger continues to expect to complete the merger in early 2024.”