It seems that the anticipated deal between Rite Aid and Albertsons — which would have seen the pharmacy and grocery chains merge — has been called off. According to the New York Times, the deal had lost the support of Rite Aid shareholders.
The news that the plug was to be pulled came just before a special meeting of Rite Aid shareholders to consider the merger, though that meeting is officially off the agenda now that the deal has been called off.
“While we believed in the merits of the combination with Albertsons, we have heard the views expressed by our stockholders and are committed to moving forward and executing our strategic plan as a stand-alone company,” said John T. Standley, Rite Aid’s CEO.
The firms agreed that termination of the merger was a mutual decision — and no one owes anyone any money.
While they may have affirmed the decision as mutual, Albertsons has made its disagreement with the choice known, noting in a public statement that “the conclusion of certain Rite Aid stockholders and third-party advisory firms” — that the deal undervalued the drugstore chain — was not correct. Albertsons was not willing to alter the terms of the deal.
As part of the proposed deal, Rite Aid shareholders would have owned 30 percent of the combined companies.
This is Rite Aid’s second big strike-out with a merger deal. The chain had previously sought to merge with Walgreens, but antitrust authorities made it clear they were unlikely to approve the combination of two of the nation’s largest drugstore chains.
Instead, last year, Rite Aid agreed to sell 1,932 stores and three distribution centers to Walgreens for $4.38 billion.
Had the Albertsons deal gone through, the supermarket chain would have rebranded its in-store pharmacies under the Rite Aid brand. Albertsons also would have continued to run at least some of Rite Aid’s stand-alone pharmacies.