Jayapal calls for FTC investigation into Kroger-Albertsons merger
Congressmember Pramila Jayapal is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Kroger's proposed acquisition of Albertsons.
The Seattle representative says the merger will stifle competition, hurt consumers, and small businesses, and will ultimately lead to higher prices and fewer products on the market.
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State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has made similar arguments in his efforts to keep a $4 billion payout to Albertsons' shareholders from going through.
A judge delayed a hearing on that matter until Dec. 9. There is currently a temporary restraining order on any payout to shareholders.
Jayapal called for the FTC to look into the $25 billion merger at a press event Monday afternoon at Seattle's Junction Park Plaza. She was joined by local members of UFCW 3000, which represents grocery workers.
Douglas Ross teaches antitrust law at the University of Washington. He says if the FTC does step in, investigators will likely look at whether the deal stifles competition.
“And if the answer to that in some markets is 'no,' then the second question is going to be whether the solution that Kroger and Albertsons are proposing is workable," Ross told KUOW.
The companies are proposing spinoffs, but regulators will have to determine if those spinoffs will offer the same level of competition. Kroger and Albertsons, together, operate more than 330 stores in Washington state.