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Photo: Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images

Albertsons Cos., the owner of Safeway and other supermarket chains, is set to purchase the remainder of drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp. that won't be sold to Walgreens, per the WSJ. The deal would create a company with a combined value of $24 billion and allow the privately-held Albertsons to go public.

Why it matters: Both companies cited Amazon as a key reason for their merger, noting the need for retailers to offer expanded offerings in the face of the tech giant's purchase of Whole Foods last year. The Albertsons-Rite Aid merger would combine the former's strengths in e-commerce and fresh food with the latter's expansive pharmacy benefits.

Go deeper

28 mins ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.