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US Judge Blocks Albertsons’ $4B Payout In Kroger Fight, Again

 |  November 12, 2022

Albertsons’ investors hoping for their share of a promised $4 billion payment must wait at least another week for a payout bound up in a controversial merger with rival Kroger. 

On Thursday, King County Superior Court Judge Ken Schubert extended through Nov. 17 a week-old restraining order on the payment. Schubert added the extra week in part so state lawyers could better prepare their claim that the payment would weaken Albertsons and potentially void the nearly $25 billion merger, which was announced last month. 

Related: Kroger, Albertsons Unions Ask FTC To Block Deal

During Thursday’s hearing, which served as something of a preview of the fight over the merger, Schubert pushed Albertsons and Kroger to share more information about the connection between the dividend and the merger, which would unite two of America’s largest grocery retailers. Albertsons owns Safeway while Kroger owns QFC and Fred Meyer.

Schubert also wants the companies to fully comply with the state’s request for board minutes and other internal communications about the impact of the dividend.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his counterparts in California, Illinois and the District of Columbia have previously sued to block the dividend, arguing that it could force Albertsons to close some locations during the years-long approval process for the merger.