Kroger and Albertsons Companies Announce Definitive Merger Agreement
Kroger and Albertsons Companies, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which the companies will merge two complementary organizations with iconic brands and deep roots in their local communities to establish a national footprint and unite around Kroger’s Purpose to Feed the Human Spirit. Through a family of well-known and trusted supermarket banners, this combination will expand customer reach and improve proximity to deliver fresh and affordable food to approximately 85 million households with a premier omnichannel experience.
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. Subject to the outcome of a store divestiture process, the cash component of the $34.10 per share consideration may be reduced by the per share value of a newly created standalone public company (“SpinCo”) that Albertsons Cos. is prepared to spin off at closing in conjunction with the regulatory clearance process described further in the Transaction Details below. As part of the transaction, Albertsons Cos. will pay a special cash dividend of up to $4 billion to its shareholders. The cash component of the $34.10 per share consideration will be reduced by the per share amount of the special cash dividend, which is expected to be approximately $6.85 per share. This cash dividend will be payable on Nov. 7, 2022, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Oct. 24, 2022.
The purchase price represents a premium of approximately 32.8 percent to the unaffected closing price of Albertsons Cos. common stock on Oct.12, 2022 and 29.7 percent to the 30-day volume-weighted average price.
Together, Albertsons Cos. 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 premier seamless ecosystem across 48 states and the District of Columbia, providing customers with a best-in-class shopping experience across both stores and digital channels. Both Kroger and Albertsons Cos. are anchored by shared values focused on ensuring associates, customers and communities thrive. The combined company will drive profitable growth and sustainable value for all stakeholders.
Kroger has a long track record of lowering prices, improving the customer experience and investing in its associates and communities. Consistent with prior transactions, Kroger plans to invest in lowering prices for customers and expects to reinvest approximately half a billion dollars of cost savings from synergies to reduce prices for customers. An incremental $1.3 billion will also be invested into Albertsons Cos. stores to enhance the customer experience. Kroger will also build on its recent investments in associate wages, training and benefits. Kroger has invested an incremental $1.2 billion in associate compensation and benefits since 2018. The combined company expects to invest $1 billion to continue raising associate wages and comprehensive benefits after close.
“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.”
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.”
For more information and details on the merger agreement, visit Kroger’s official press release.