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Albertsons, Kroger CEOs Face US Senators

 |  November 29, 2022

Executives at Kroger and Albertsons Companies are expected to face tough questions on Tuesday from lawmakers who worry the grocers’ planned $25 billion merger will push up food prices at a time when inflation is a concern.

Kroger Chief Executive Rodney McMullen and Albertsons’ chief, Vivek Sankaran, will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, some of whose members have already criticized the deal.

Senators Amy Klobuchar, chair of the antitrust panel, and Richard Blumenthal were among those who signed a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, saying the merger “raises considerable antitrust concerns.”

Read more: Kroger, Albertsons CEOs Face US Congressional Panel On Merger

The deal has also been criticized by unions and progressive groups, which have argued that the merger would exacerbate income inequality through job losses and eroding wages and have urged the FTC to block the deal. read more

The merger is being discussed at a time when the Biden administration is determined to bring down inflation. US consumer prices did rise less than expected in October, pushing the annual increase below 8% for the first time in eight months. Food prices increased 0.6%.

The companies, knowing the deal would be controversial and that antitrust enforcement has become tougher, offered an aggressive plan aimed at resolving concerns when they announced the deal, which would bring nearly 5,000 stores under one corporate umbrella, ranging from Safeway to Ralphs and Fred Meyer.