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Kroger and Albertsons to merge in $24.6 billion deal

Kroger, the nation's largest supermarket chain, and rival Albertsons are merging in a deal that would value the combined company at $24.6 billion.

Together, the companies will have more than 710,000 workers and operate nearly 5,000 stores, along with roughly 4,000 pharmacies. Kroger, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, operates 2,800 stores in 35 states, including brands like Ralphs, Smith's and Harris Teeter. Alberstons, based in Boise, Idaho, operates 2,220 stores in 34 states, including brands like Safeway, Jewel Osco and Shaw's. 

"Albertsons Cos. brings a complementary footprint and operates in several parts of the country with very few or no Kroger stores," Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen, who will lead the expanded company, said in a statement.

Kroger will pay $34.10 for each share of Albertsons stock, a 19% premium from the closing price on Thursday. As part of the purchase, Albertsons will issue a cash dividend of up to $4 billion to its shareholders, which the companies said is expected to be about $6.85 per share.

The deal is likely to face close scrutiny from U.S. antitrust enforcers, who under the Biden administration have taken a dim view of mergers between large rivals that could potentially reduce competition. 

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