Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Albertsons seeks merger with Rite Aid

Aid location in Philadelphia. The privately held owner of Safeway Vons and other grocery brands is plunging deeper into the pharmacy business with a deal to buy Rite Aid the nation’s third-largest Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) Jumps 23.47% Tuesday's Pre-market after Takeover News
| 22 February, 2018, 01:27

Almost all of the Rite Aid stores in the Buffalo Niagara region and Western New York.

The grocery chain has stepped up to pick up the remaining Rite Aid storefronts not already involved in its $4.3 billion sale of almost 2,000 stores to Walgreens, a deal struck after the companies failed to complete an even larger transaction in 2015.

According to a company press release, the combined company is expected to serve more than 40 million USA customers per week at approximately 4,900 locations, 4,350 pharmacy counters, and 320 health clinics across 38 states and Washington D.C. It is expected to generate revenues of $83 billion.

Albertsons said it will continue to run Rite Aid stand-alone stores, and most of the grocery operator's pharmacies will be rebranded as Rite Aid.

Albertsons is acquiring the remaining Rite Aid stores that weren't scooped up by Walgreens, which had plans to buy the whole company back in 2015 before the full deal was blocked by regulators.

Retailers have been under growing pressure from online competitors like Amazon.com Inc., and the corner drugstore has been no exception.

The online giant made an aggressive push into the grocery business a year ago, acquiring upscale chain Whole Foods for $13.4 billion in a deal with the potential to transform the supermarket industry in fundamental ways.


Amazon's competitors also are bulking up health care services, which can not be purchased online.

With those things in mind, In late January, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase announced they would pool resources to create a health care savings consortium for their 1.5 million employees. That deal came together after a federal judge blocked Aetna's merger with its health insurance rival Humana a year ago.

Leveraging a strong pharmacy network and Rite Aid's pharmacy benefit management company, EnvisionRxOptions, to drive customer growth: The combined company will be positioned to drive incremental growth by deepening existing relationships and expanding reach across higher-value pharmacy customers. But two years of negotiations were upended when United States antitrust authorities indicated last year that they were not likely to approve the combination of two of the nation's biggest drugstore chains. The companies settled on the smaller deal instead. And while Rite Aid shares have come off their November 9 four-year low of $1.39, the rally was quickly contained by their 180-day moving average - a trendline the security has not closed north of since mid-January 2017. Given the increasing prevalence of online retailers like Amazon, Rite Aid and Albertsons have to prove they offer something no website can.

Rite Aid Chairman and CEO John Standley would become CEO of the combined company, and Albertsons Chairman and CEO Bob Miller will be Chairman. Albertsons, which has 68 stores, mostly Safeways, in Maryland, did not provide a list of the Rite Aid stores included in the deal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Earlier this month, Rite Aid said that it had transferred about 1,114 stores so far to Walgreens. It also invested in El Rancho Supermercado, a Texas retailer focused on stores for Latino customers, last year.

Rite Aid operates 10 stores in Hamilton County, two stores in Cleveland, Tenn., and other outlets in Dunlap, Tenn., and Tunnel Hill, Ga.

Chad Bray is a New York Times writer.

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