C&S Wholesale Grocers, with the backing of SoftBank Group, is reportedly nearing a deal to acquire stores that Kroger and Albertsons want to sell in order to obtain regulatory approvals for their $25 billion merger, according to a Reuters report.
Bloomberg News first reported the talks, noting that C&S could announce the deal to acquire most or all of the stores that the supermarket operators are hoping to sell for antitrust reasons as soon as this week.
The report also noted that C&S lost Ahold Delhaize, one of its largest customers, when the supermarket group decided to transition to self-distribution in 2019. C&S can help offset that loss through acquisitions, per the report.
In February, Reuters reported that Kroger and Albertsons were moving forward with their plans to divest between 250 and 300 stores to alleviate U.S. antitrust concerns over their combination.
The stores that Albertsons and Kroger may sell could be worth more than $1 billion and are located across all the regions where the two companies operate such as the Pacific Northwest, Southern California, Phoenix and Chicago, the Reuters report noted.
Drug Store News' queries to Kroger, C&S and SoftBank Group were not immediately returned.
An Albertsons' spokesperson told DSN that the company is not providing public comment.
In March, the companies restated that they would divest some stores to gain the regulatory clearance required to go ahead with the merger, the report said.
The report pointed out that The Federal Trade Commission, which is reviewing Kroger's proposed $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons, is under pressure from some U.S. lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups to block the deal on concerns it may lead to higher grocery prices.