Bonta asks court to temporarily block payment to investors of $4 billion from Albertsons

The Market by Vons/Albertsons by the Tribunes offers packaged sandwiches and fruit bowls
Vons/Albertsons Market. Photo by Chris Stone

As regulators examine merger project retail giants Albertson and Krogercompanies owning Let’s and Ralphattorney general of california Rob Bonta and two other AGs on Wednesday asked a federal court to temporarily block Albertsons’ planned payment of a $4 billion special dividend to shareholders.

The payment is scheduled for Monday and the GMs have expressed concern that it will hurt Albertsons’ ability to compete. Their complaint follows a letter sent to Albertsons and Kroger last week arguing that the expected payment is premature and would significantly deplete Albertsons’ cash flow as inflation drives up prices and an economic downturn appears imminent. .

The AGs are seeking to delay payment while regulatory review of the proposed merger is underway.

“As inflation drives up grocery prices, a decrease in competition can be devastating for hard-working California families and for those who work in those stores. This proposed merger is far from complete, which makes Albertsons’ decision to divest one-third of its market capitalization very concerning. I urge the court to delay this payment to allow for a thorough review of its impacts on Albertsons’ ability to compete while the proposed merger is in study,” the statement continued.

Albertsons and Kroger provide daily necessities to millions of people across the United States and employ more than 700,000 workers in communities across the country.

Bonta said state attorneys general are committed to ensuring that the proposed merger of grocery behemoths complies with federal and state antitrust laws and does not result in higher prices for consumers, suppressed wages for workers or other anti-competitive effects.

Updated 5:04 PM Nov 2, 2022

City News Service contributed to this article.