On Wednesday, state officials from seven US states wrote to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to urge the blocking of Kroger’s proposed $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons. In a strongly-worded letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan, the secretaries of state warned that the merger would result in a staggering 24 percent share of the US food retail market for the newly combined Kroger/Albertsons.
The officials highlighted the devastating impact that such an immense corporate consolidation could have on American workers, calling on the FTC to halt the deal before it is too late. “This merger will deprive Americans of their hard-earned wages and livelihoods,” they wrote, “we are strongly opposed to this merger and urge you to stop it without delay.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken an interested look at the proposed grocery megamerger between major retailers Kroger and seven smaller chain stores. All seven of these stores are owned by elected Democrats, leading some to speculate about political motivations for the deal.
Political implications aside, the merger looks set to benefit consumers and store workers, according to a Kroger spokesperson. The only parties who would suffer from the merger being blocked would be large competitors, such as Walmart and Amazon, who are not subject to unionization.
The FTC have refused to comment on the matter, but have approached experts to further their investigation into the merger, tapping into those who work with farming, food deserts and small business chains. While it is common for federal antitrust agencies to reach out to state attorneys general when reviewing mergers, such contact with secretaries of state is unusual—their oversight role is more limited in many different states.