Bernie Sanders blasts Kroger’s $24.6B Albertsons deal, calls it ‘absolute disaster’

CINCINNATI (ENQUIRER) — U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders called Kroger’s latest move an “absolute disaster” after the Cincinnati-based grocery retailer Friday announced its plan to sell Albertsons in a $24.6 billion deal, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer to take over.

The two grocery chains’ combined sales are nearly $210 billion, putting Kroger about $10 billion away from US grocery sales at Walmart, the world’s largest grocer.

>> Kroger aims to create grocery giant in $20 billion Albertson bid <

In a tweet on Friday, Sanders urged the White House to reject the merger.

“At a time when food prices are skyrocketing due to corporate greed, it would be an absolute disaster to allow Kroger, the second largest grocery store in America, to merge with Albertsons, the fourth largest grocery store in America,” he said Vermont progressive wrote. “The Biden administration must reject this deal.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren responded to the then-rumored merger in an interview with MSNBC on Thursday. The Massachusetts Democrat said the US failed to apply antitrust laws for decades, the Enquirer reports.

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“For example grocery stores, remember how many grocery stores there used to be? And now you have a handful of giant chains,” Warren said.

The senator said Kroger earned nearly $900 million in the third quarter of 2021, more than triple the same period in 2019.

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“That’s because they have a lot of market dominance,” she said. “If we intervene in antitrust law, break up these giant corporations, then we get real competition and then markets that are really competitive.”

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Kroger and Albertsons are expected to divest 100 to 375 stores to address antitrust concerns, according to the Enquirer, leaving Kroger to operate more than 4,500 stores nationwide. Albertsons investors will own a separate company comprising the divested businesses.

Both businesses currently employ a combined workforce of 710,000 and operate 4,996 stores, 66 distribution centers, 52 manufacturing facilities, 3,972 dispensaries and 2,015 service stations in 48 states and Washington DC

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