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FTC to make decision on Kroger and Albertsons next year

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

FTC chair Lina Khan's timeline for Kroger and Albertsons may run past when the two grocers plan to close their deal early next year.

Why it matters: Khan told 9News in Denver Wednesday that the Federal Trade Commission would make a decision sometime next year on whether to challenge the merger.

  • Technically, the transaction could be terminated if it does not close on or before Jan. 13, 2024, though that date could be extended to Oct. 9.

Details: Khan commented while at a listening session held by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, which the FTC confirmed was accurate.

  • Sources have said the deal was structured to make it difficult for the FTC to run out the clock.

What they're saying: "We know that mergers have real-life impact for people," Khan said, as reported by CBS Colorado.

  • "We want to make sure that we're not just doing technical analysis that's looking at theoretical models, but actually understanding the real-life impact of what would happen if deals go through," she said.
  • "It's clear that there's a lot at stake with this merger, the FTC's investigation is ongoing and we haven't made any final decisions, but hearing directly from the people who this deal would affect is absolutely vital," Khan said, per 9News.
  • "Only non-unionized retailers, like Walmart and Amazon, will benefit if this merger is blocked," a Kroger spokesperson tells Axios. "In fact, Kroger joining with Albertsons will mean lower prices for customers, secure union jobs and more food directed to hungry families, with 10 billion meals committed to people in need across America by 2030."

Catch up fast: Axios previously reported that the FTC is likely to oppose the transaction.

Albertsons declined to comment.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a comment Kroger provided after initially declining to comment.

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