Kroger (KR-US) CEO Rodney McMullen and Albertsons (ACI-US) top executive Vivek Sankaran said in a statement from the office of U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. ) was asked this week about the $25 billion merger of the two giant grocery companies.
Klobuchar convened the hearing with Republican Sen. Mike Lee, the top member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel. Klobuchar is chair of the subcommittee.
“The hearing will examine the impact of the proposed merger of Kroger and Albertsons, the two largest grocery chains in the United States,” the statement said.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to actively review the merger to ensure it complies with antitrust laws. To counter criticism, the companies said they would spin off some stores, with Albertsons saying it was ready to spin off a separate division to its shareholders immediately before the merger was completed, possibly in early 2024. It is estimated that as many as 375 stores will be cut into the new combined company.
The mega-merger between America’s No. 1 and No. 2 independent grocers will bring nearly 5,000 stores under one roof, including Albertsons’ Safeway and Kroger’s Ralphs and Fred Meyer.
While those two players are the largest independent grocers, Walmart (WMT-US) remains the market leader.