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Nevada's attorney general weighs in on Kroger-Albertsons merger

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Feb 12, 2024
Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford speaks about 2024 election security at the Clark County Election Department

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford. Photo: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford is continuing to scrutinize the grocery merger of Kroger and Albertsons with a focus on consumer protection, he tells Axios.

Why it matters: Several states, in addition to the Federal Trade Commission, are eyeing this deal, highlighting its local and regional significance.

Catch up fast: Ford has been conducting dozens of listening sessions across his state, including one last September that FTC chair Lina Khan attended.

Of note: In the interview, Ford acknowledged upfront that at these sessions, attendees have overwhelmingly opposed the merger.

The latest: Ford says Nevada has yet to decide on whether to support or oppose the deal.

  • The state could align with the FTC, or pursue another option like a settlement, he says. Nevada also has the option to sue under its consumer protection statutes, he adds.
  • Ford says he could also strike a deal containing commitments for consumers, jobs and locations, which is what he did in 2019 when T-Mobile and Sprint merged.

Zoom in: In particular, Ford says he is looking at whether food deserts might be created and what the impact will be on gas stations and pharmacies involved in the sale.

  • He cited an Albertsons in Pahrump, Nevada, that serves customers from as far as Amargosa Valley, about 45 miles away.
  • Ford is also studying the effect on food prices and jobs.

Between the lines: As part of the merger, Kroger and Albertsons are divesting locations in the state to C&S Wholesale.

The other side: Both Kroger and C&S have made commitments on jobs, with the latter saying it will recognize union workers and maintain collective bargaining agreements.

The bottom line: Competition matters and it affects people's access to food, Ford says.

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