Ohio-based The Kroger Co. has enlisted the help of former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) to win approval of its proposed merger with Albertsons Cos.
According to The Hill, Boehner, who works for law and lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, will “provide strategic counsel” to Kroger executives but won’t register to lobby. Squire Patton Boggs’ Tommy Andrews and David Schnittger, two former Boehner aides, and Caren Street, former chief of staff to then-Rep. Mayor Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, will lobby on Kroger’s behalf.
Kroger first announced its plan to merge with Albertsons in October 2022 for $34.10 a share, a total enterprise value of approximately $24.6 billion. The merger would give the companies nearly unprecedented scale and advantages to better compete with Walmart, Amazon and other retail giants. According to the two companies, their union would also offer “tremendous benefits” to shoppers, staffers and communities, arguing the merger will result in lower prices for customers.
While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continues to review the proposed merger, reports emerged earlier this month that the two grocers are following through on a previously announced divestiture. The companies are planning to sell up to 300 stores in a move to dispel antitrust concerns. The value of the stores could exceed $1 billion.
Kroger hopes to complete its merger with Albertsons by 2024.
Meanwhile, both companies have released impressive quarterly earnings. For its fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, Kroger reported total company sales were $34.8 billion, compared to $33.0 billion for the same period last year. Excluding fuel, sales increased 5.9% compared to the same period last year. Digital sales grew 12%
For Albertsons' third quarter ending Dec. 3, 2022, the company achieved a 7.9% year-over-year increase in identical sales and higher fuel sales. Digital sales increased 33%.
Serving 11 million customers daily through a digital shopping experience and retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates more than 2,200 retail stores in 34 states. The company is No. 9 on The PG 100. PG also named both companies to its Retailers of the Century list.