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Albertsons clears anti-trust hurdle in Rite Aid deal

Albertsons is one step closer to acquiring Rite Aid.

Rite Aid Thursday morning announced that the HSR waiting period (under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976) in connection with its previously announced merger with Albertsons, expired this midnight past.

“The expiration of the HSR waiting period is an important step toward completing the proposed transaction with Albertsons which will create a truly differentiated leader in food, health and wellness to meet the evolving needs of customers,” John Standley, Rite Aid chairman and CEO, said. “We remain focused on combining our two organizations to drive growth, profitability and long-term shareholder value.”

The expiration of the waiting period under the HSR Act satisfies one of the conditions to the closing of the merger, which remains subject to other customary closing conditions, including the approval of Rite Aid’s stockholders.

The initial HSR statutory waiting period, implemented to give both the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice time to review the deal, typically is 30 days. That waiting period can be extended when either the FTC or DOJ determines the deal warrants further investigation, as was the case when Walgreens Boots Alliance’s proposed acquisition of Rite Aid was still active.

The expiration of the HSR statutory waiting period will allow Jim Donald, Albertsons president and COO, and his team to start rolling up their sleeves and begin planning the proposed integration in earnest. Donald, whose resume includes six years as president and CEO of Starbucks, is extensively familiar with both companies. He had previously held senior leadership roles at both Albertsons and Safeway and also served as a member of the board of directors of Rite Aid from 2008 to 2013.

“Jim Donald has built an exceptional career in retail. His knowledge of our company and industry is unmatched, and I know his contributions will be invaluable as we enter the next chapter of Albertsons Companies,” Bob Miller, Albertsons Companies chairman and CEO, said at the time of Donald’s appointment. “We look forward to tapping his expertise in leading large consumer brands as we work every day to meet our customers’ needs, both in-store and online.”

With the Albertsons-Rite Aid merger, originally announced in February, the combined operation is poised to become the No. 4 retail pharmacy operator in terms of pharmacy sales.
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