Rite Aid, Albertsons walk away from merger

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Rite Aid Corporation announced that it agreed with Acme-Safeway owner Albertsons Companies Inc. to terminate amerger agreement.

“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 standalone company,” said Rite Aid CEO John Standley. “We remain focused on leveraging our network of conveniently located retail pharmacies, our EnvisionRxOptions PBM and our trusted brand of health and wellness offerings. We will continue building momentum for key areas of our business like our innovative Wellness store format, highly successful customer loyalty program and expanded pharmacy service offerings, as we also enhance our omni-channel and own brand offerings to strengthen our competitive position and create long-term value for stockholders.”

Under the terms of the merger agreement, neither Rite Aid nor Albertsons will be responsible for any payments to the other party as a result of the termination of the merger agreement.

Rite Aid is based in Camp Hill, PA and has a large number of pharmacies in Delaware. It faces competition from a variety of sources including Walmart, Walgreen and CVS.

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Walgreen Boosts Alliance bought 1,900 Rite Aids in the East and South. Delaware stores are still listed as being part of Rite Aid on its website. Walgreen faced antitrust issues had it opted to buy Rite Aid stores in Delaware.

Shareholders had not been happy with the Albertson’s deal. However, their options may be limited as other bidders have not yet come forward for the shrunken chain.

For Albertson’s, the deal short-circuits a plan to become a bigger player in the drug store business. In addition to in-store pharmacies, Albertson’s owns regional drug store brands Osco and Save-On.

Albertsonshad been expected to rebrand its in-store pharmacies in the region to Rite Aid and perhaps close some locations.

Earlier this year, Rite Aid closed a drugstore in downtown Wilmington.

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