As the retail market continues to shake things up, rumors of new mergers, acquisitions, and expansions are rocking the buy-side.
Latest to emerge is Albertsons, whom the industry’s rumor mill has added to the list of interested parties for hundreds of Rite Aid stores that are supposed to go up for sale.
As Walgreens endeavors to appease the Federal Trade Commission by selling off 650 Rite Aids, news source CTFN noted that latest reports cite an antitrust attorney who stated that "Albertsons and Kroger are established retail players with experience in pharmacies," and that the assets they are eyeing represent "key geographic expansion for both."
As we reported previously, Kroger has been said to be on the list of interested buyers for the past few months, but was said to be pulling out of the race when sources close to the situation stated that the FTC told Kroger the 650 stores for sale couldn’t be purchased and closed. This would mean that the retailer could not move operations inside a grocery store that might already be near an existing Rite Aid.
Originally, it was thought that Walgreens might be looking to shed as many as 1,000 Rite Aid stores as it pursued the $17 billion deal, but the number has since been lowered to 650 stores. However, CTFN noted that Walgreens still has not yet "freshened up the package" of planned stores for sale to present to the FTC, despite these developments.
Both Albertsons and Kroger have shown recent interests in expanding their footprints through acquisitions—Albertsons with recent California buy-ups under subsidiary Safeway, and Kroger reporting that it is in the process of figuring out the “special sauce,” as it were, to its own expansion.
Could we be graced with a few more key retail acquisitions before Christmas? Deli Market News will be sure to keep you in the loop.