Federal trial over Safeway–Fred Meyer merger will be in Portland

As reported in the March edition of the North Peninsula Review, the parent companies of Fred Meyer and Safeway (Kroger and Albertsons) proposed the largest grocery store merger in US history in 2022. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued to block the merger on February 26, 2024, saying it violates antitrust laws against monopoly. The Attorney General of Oregon joined the FTC suit in addition to seven other states and Washington DC who also oppose the $24.6 billion deal. 

It was announced that Portland will be the location for the national trial expected to last two to three weeks. The hearing, August 26, will decide the next step in the merger according to SupermarketNews.com.

Kroger and Albertsons responded to the FTC lawsuit in mid-March with a sharply worded statement detailing their objections. They insist the suit is simply a delay in the merger. Kroger and Albertsons recently filed answers to the lawsuit.

North Portland would be particularly affected by a merger because the two chains’ territories cross over here. Consolidation of stores could lead to layoffs and lower pay for workers, less choices for shoppers and suppliers, as well as higher prices. A state and federal investigation has shown that the merger would present a risk to grocery workers both in Oregon and nationally.