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A powerful combo

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BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons Cos. and Rite Aid Corp. plan to merge in a mostly stock transaction. If completed, the combination will create a company with pro forma revenues of about $83 billion, operating 4,900 stores, 4,350 pharmacy locations and 320 in-store health clinics in 38 states and the District of ­Columbia.

The merger will reunite Bob Miller, Albertsons’ current chairman and chief executive officer, and John Standley, Rite Aid’s chairman and CEO. Standley was a member of the management team that Miller brought to Rite Aid when he took on the challenge of turning around the drug chain at the end of 1999.

Miller will continue to hold the position of chairman of the combined company, while Standley will become CEO of the new entity. The combined company will have dual headquarters in Boise, Idaho, and Camp Hill, Pa., and it is expected to draw its leadership from the executive ranks of both retailers.

“This powerful combination enables us to become a truly differentiated leader in delivering value, choice and flexibility to meet customers’ evolving food, health and wellness needs,” Standley said in a statement. “The combined platform positions Rite Aid to capitalize on our pharmacy expertise and expand and enhance our pharmacy footprint. We are confident that delivering improved customer experiences and value will drive growth and profitability while creating compelling long-term value for shareholders.”

Under the terms of the agreement, in exchange for every 10 shares of Rite Aid common stock, Rite Aid shareholders will have the option to elect to receive either one share of Albertsons common stock plus about $1.83 in cash or 1.079 shares of Albertsons stock. Depending on how many opt for the cash and stock deal, Rite Aid shareholders will own between 28% and 29.6% of the combined company. Current Albertsons shareholders will hold between 70.4% and 72% of the new organization.

The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, is subject to approval by Rite Aid’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. It is expected to close early in the second half of 2018.

Privately held Albertsons is backed by an investment consortium that is led by Cerberus Capital Management LP and also includes Kimco Realty Corp., Klaff Realty LP, Lubert-Adler Partners LP and Schottenstein Stores Corp. A merger with publicly held Rite Aid would result in Albertsons going public without having to issue an initial public offering.

“We have always put our customers first, and our combination with Rite Aid will enable us to even better serve the valuable pharmacy customer by providing a fully integrated one-stop shop for our customers’ food, health and wellness needs,” Miller said in a statement. “I have long known the excellent management team at Rite Aid, and we share a singular focus on superior customer service and a clear vision and strategy to become the favorite local supermarket and pharmacy to shoppers in every neighborhood we serve.”

The combined company will boast a significantly expanded geographic footprint, being ranked first or second in 66% of the top metropolitan markets in the country, and ranked first or second in 70% of the pharmacy markets in which it operates. Based on store count, it will be the leading integrated food and drug retailer on the West Coast, while holding a strong position in many markets in the ­Northeast.

With the exception of the Chicago market, where the Jewel-Osco banner enjoys a strong consumer franchise, Albertsons’ pharmacies will be rebannered to Rite Aid. The combined company’s 4,345 pharmacies are anticipated to generate approximately $16 billion in annual pharmacy sales and issue about 323 million prescriptions ­annually.


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