Oct 16, 2023 - News

California considers blocking Kroger merger

Illustration of an Albertsons' grocery bag inside of a Kroger's bag.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

California may sue to block Kroger's proposed $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons, which would merge two of the country's largest grocery chains, according to comments from state Attorney General Rob Bonta.

Why it matters: Bonta revealed his plans shortly after a meeting last week with U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, suggesting he's working in concert with federal antitrust regulators.

Catch up quick: Kroger and Albertsons, have been working on a megagrocer merger since October 2022.

Zoom in: With dozens of stores locally, the two grocers made up 34% of the market share in the San Diego metro area in 2022.

  • Kroger owns Ralph's and Food 4 Less, while Albertsons brands include Vons and Pavilions.

Between the lines: "The state could challenge the merger on its own, or it could partner with the FTC and other states on a lawsuit," per Bloomberg.

  • "California, which has the largest antitrust staff of any in the country, has filed its own merger challenges when federal enforcers have declined, notably joining with other states in an unsuccessful effort to block T-Mobile US' purchase of provider Sprint in 2020."
Data: Chain Store Guide; Note: Among metro areas with 300k+ residents; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals
Data: Chain Store Guide; Note: Among metro areas with 300k+ residents; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals
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