Albertsons and Kroger intend to merge to form the two largest supermarket businesses.
The two biggest grocery store chains in the United States would combine if Kroger and Albertsons go through with their $24.6 billion merger, the firms announced on Friday.
Given that it would create a new grocery behemoth at a time of skyrocketing food prices, the merger is sure to attract heavy scrutiny from federal authorities and opponents. In September, grocery prices increased 13% over the same month last year.
With 420,000 people and over 2,700 shops, including Ralphs, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, and King Soopers, Kroger is the largest grocery chain in the United States. With 290,000 employees and nearly 2,300 locations, including Safeway and Vons, Albertsons is the second-largest supermarket chain in the nation.
In many locations, the two overlap, and their partnership would mean spinning off up to 375 stores into a different firm. In its announcement on Friday, Kroger stated that it would invest $1 billion to increase salaries and benefits for employees, as well as "reinvest about half a billion dollars of cost savings from synergies to cut prices for customers."
Walmart, along with Amazon and other smaller retailers, is a major competition for both businesses since it is the country's leading seller of groceries. After merging with rival Safeway in 2015, Albertsons tried unsuccessfully to merge with Rite Aid in 2018, and finally went public in 2020.
Megadeals have come under fire from antitrust enforcers during the Biden administration due to their disproportionate effects on consumer prices and competition.