A PYMNTS Company

State AGs Ask Court To Temporarily Stop $4B Albertsons Dividend Payment

 |  December 1, 2022

The attorneys general of California, Illinois and Washington D.C. asked a federal court on for a preliminary injunction that would prevent Albertsons, which is being purchased by rival Kroger, from paying a $4 billion dividend to shareholders.

The state officials said in a court filing that Kroger, which does not yet own its rival, agreed with Albertsons that Albertsons would pay the dividend at the beginning of the merger review.

“Payment of the special dividend, in conjunction with the restrictions defendants’ merger agreement imposes on Albertsons’ ability to borrow money, likely will hamper Albertsons’ ability to compete with Kroger and other grocers, leaving shoppers facing higher prices, worse service, less innovation, closure of their local Safeway or other Albertsons supermarket, or all of the above,” they said in the filing.

Related: Sens. Lee, Klobuchar Raise Concerns Over Albertsons-Kroger Merger At Hearing

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement that he was determined to stop the $4 billion handout. “We’re not going to stop fighting to make sure that the proposed merger doesn’t harm California families, workers, and farmers,” he said.

Albertsons did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has said that it was in a strong position financially and that the dividend will not hurt it.