Kroger and Albertsons Announce Definitive Merger Agreement

Kroger and Albertsons today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which the retailers will merge. The combination will expand customer reach and improve proximity to deliver fresh and affordable food to approximately 85 million households.

Together, Albertsons and Kroger currently employ more than 710,000 associates and operate a total of 4,996 stores, 66 distribution centers, 52 manufacturing plants, 3,972 pharmacies and 2,015 fuel centers. The combination creates a footprint which encompasses 48 state and the District of Columbia.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company, Kroger will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Albertsons Companies, Inc. (“Albertsons Cos.”) common and preferred stock (on an as converted basis) for an estimated total consideration of $34.10 per share, implying a total enterprise value of approximately $24.6 billion, including the assumption of approximately $4.7 billion of Albertsons Cos. net debt.

“We are bringing together two purpose-driven organizations to deliver superior value to customers, associates, communities and shareholders,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, who will continue serving as Chairman and CEO of the combined company. “Albertsons Cos. brings a complementary footprint and operates in several parts of the country with very few or no Kroger stores. This merger advances our commitment to build a more equitable and sustainable food system by expanding our footprint into new geographies to serve more of America with fresh and affordable food and accelerates our position as a more compelling alternative to larger and non-union competitors. As a combined entity, we will be better positioned to advance Kroger’s successful go-to-market strategy by providing an incredible seamless shopping experience, expanding Our Brands portfolio, and delivering personalized value and savings. We’ll also be able to further enhance technology and innovation, promote healthier lifestyles, extend our health care and pharmacy network and grow our alternative profit businesses. We believe this transaction will lead to faster and more profitable growth and generate greater returns for our shareholders.”

Mr. McMullen added, “This transaction is a testament to the passion and commitment of both Albertsons Cos. and Kroger associates. Supporting and investing in our associates is foundational to both of our organizations and will continue to be a critical pillar of our success. Kroger has a track record of successful integrations that combine the strengths of each company while maintaining and enhancing each organizations’ distinctive banners and storied histories. As a combined company, we will build on our similar values to create a culture that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion and fosters a best-in-class associate experience by enabling, supporting and empowering our associates to unlock their full potential. Importantly, the merger secures union jobs and we will continue to work with local unions across America to serve our communities. We look forward to bringing the Albertsons Cos. and Kroger families together to create new and exciting career opportunities for associates.”

“We have been on a transformational journey to evolve Albertsons Cos. into a modern and efficient omnichannel food and drug retailer focused on building deep and lasting relationships with our customers and communities. I am proud of what our 290,000 associates have accomplished, delivering top-tier performance while furthering our purpose to bring people together around the joys of food and to inspire well-being. Today’s announcement is a testament to their success,” said Vivek Sankaran, CEO of Albertsons Cos.

“At Albertsons Cos., we are guided by an ambition to create customers for life. Together with Kroger, our combined iconic banners will be able to provide customers with even more value and greater access to fresh food and essential pharmacy services. Given the similarities in the culture and values at Kroger and Albertsons Cos., I am confident that the combination will also have a positive impact on our associates and the communities we are proud to serve. We look forward to working together with Kroger to capture the compelling opportunities ahead.”

“Today’s announcement marks the successful outcome of the Board-led review of strategic alternatives Albertsons Cos. announced in February,” said Chan Galbato, Co-Chair of the Albertsons Cos. Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Cerberus Operations. “This transaction with Kroger provides substantial value to shareholders and exciting opportunities for associates to be part of a combined organization with the ability to better support the lives and health of millions of Americans.”

Accelerates Kroger’s Go-to-Market Strategy

The transaction is expected to advance Kroger’s strategy of Leading with Fresh, Accelerating with Digital and will enable the combined company to build on Kroger’s go-to-market strategy that includes Fresh, Retail Brand (private brand), Personalization and Seamless.

  • Enables Kroger to Serve America with Fresher Food, Faster. Together, Kroger and Albertsons Cos. will have an expanded network of stores and distribution centers, as well as a broader supplier base. Utilizing Kroger’s End-to-End Fresh initiative across a broader network will enable the combined company to optimize its supply chain to deliver the freshest products from field to table to more customers more quickly. By bringing together Kroger’s Fresh for Everyone strategy and Albertsons Cos.’ Customers for Life strategy, the combined company will expand its portfolio of fresh products, extend shelf lives and accelerate the penetration of its Fresh portfolio.
  • Creates Broader Selection of Private Brands Products to Offer Customers Higher Quality and Better Value. At a time when people are increasingly shopping for groceries and eating at home, Kroger and Albertsons Cos. will be better positioned to relieve the inflationary pressures facing shoppers with a combined portfolio of approximately 34,000 total private label products across premium, natural and organic, and opening price point brands. Kroger and Albertsons Cos. have strong track records of providing quality products at great value. The combined company’s innovation capabilities, increased manufacturing footprint and expanded national reach will drive improved quality and efficiency allowing its Our Brands portfolio to accelerate growth and profitability while remaining affordable and accessible to customers.
  • Offers Customers Best-in-Class Personalized Experience. The combined company will be able to generate stronger customer insights and offer improved tailor-made experiences. With a customer base of approximately 85 million households, the combined company will have one of the most comprehensive first-party data repositories in the food and retail space and will be able to use Kroger’s leading data science capabilities to develop an even more compelling retail loyalty program. The combined company will provide an unmatched customer experience by offering more relevant recommendations and promotions to save customers time and money. More customers will benefit from Kroger’s data analytics by receiving personalized recommendations for healthier alternatives to products customers love as part of Kroger’s Food as Medicine initiative.
  • Delivers an Enhanced Seamless Customer Experience Requiring Zero Compromise. The combined company will benefit from shared operational learnings across both large and small store formats, a more extensive and efficient distribution network of customer fulfillment facilities and capabilities, and an expanded pickup footprint. By bringing together Kroger and Albertsons Cos.’ technology, infrastructure, and digital and delivery service providers into a single seamless ecosystem, the combined company will be able to offer customers a more personalized and convenient omnichannel experience including in-store shopping, enhanced pickup capabilities, faster delivery times, and more capabilities to serve the customer anything, anytime, anywhere with zero compromise on quality, selection and affordability.
  • Powers Continued Progress Toward Shared ESG Initiatives. Both companies have ambitious sustainability programs and a range of initiatives focused on responsible corporate stewardship, including those focused on increasing workforce diversity and fighting food insecurity. By joining forces, the combined company will be better positioned to advance a comprehensive ESG strategy focused on Kroger and Albertsons Cos.’ shared mission to support the communities they serve and pursue a more sustainable future. The addition of Albertsons Cos.’ sustainability program and resources will accelerate progress on Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social and environmental impact plan to create a more equitable and sustainable food system.

The transaction is expected to close in early 2024, subject to the receipt of required regulatory clearance and other customary closing conditions, including receipt of clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

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By Published On: October 14th, 2022Tags: ,

About the Author: Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of the Velocity Institute. Prior to this he founded the groundbreaking site My Private Brand. He is the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He began his retail career building brands at Food Lion and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Durham has worked with retailers around the world, including Albertsons, Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro Canada. Durham has published seven definitive books on private brands, including Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project and Vanguard: Vintage Originals.

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