Albertsons Acquiring Rite Aid Corporation (RAD), Heading To NYSE Upon Completion

Grocery chain Albertsons and drug retailer Rite Aid have agreed to a merger greatly expanding the footprint of the struggling pharmacy chain

Grocery chain Albertsons and drug retailer Rite Aid have agreed to a merger greatly expanding the footprint of the struggling pharmacy chain

The owner of Jewel-Osco and several other grocery store chains has agreed to a deal to buy the nation's third-largest drugstore chain, Rite Aid.

The combined companies would have about 4,900 stores, including 4,350 pharmacy locations, in 38 states, they said Tuesday. The combined company is expected to generate 2018 revenues of $83 billion and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $3.7 billion.

Almost all of the Rite Aid stores in the Buffalo Niagara region and Western New York.

Leveraging a strong pharmacy network and Rite Aid's pharmacy benefit management company, EnvisionRxOptions, to drive customer growth: The combined company will be positioned to drive incremental growth by deepening existing relationships and expanding reach across higher-value pharmacy customers.

Shareholders of Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons will own more than 70 percent of the combined company, which is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Graham said customers don't have to transfer their prescriptions to Walgreens, and they can continue to refill them at Rite Aid. Amazon made a push into the food business by buying the upscale grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.4 billion a year ago. The saving grace may be that all Rite Aid - Supervalu direct competitors, think Kroger and Ahold Delhaize, as well, face the same dilemma of needing scale to survive.

Signs posted outside the Pepperell store say the pharmacy is now a Walgreens. Vetr raised Rite Aid from a "buy" rating to a "strong-buy" rating and set a $2.54 target price on the stock in a research report on Thursday, January 25th. And Albertsons may help revive Rite Aid's "front-of-store" retail business in its remaining stand-alone pharmacies with a more-compelling grocery option. As competition heats up with e-retailers such as Amazon, store experiences become more important.

Retailers have been pushing home deliveries and other customer-friendly services in the wake of expanded competition from Amazon. Last year, the supermarket chain put plans for an initial public offering on hold after Amazon.com acquired Whole Foods Market, according to people familiar with the situation. That deal could turn numerous chain's 9,800 stores into one-stop-shop locations for an array of health care needs like blood work and eye or hearing care in addition to their traditional role of filling prescriptions. Stores bought from Rite Aid will be brought under the Walgreens brand in phases over three years, he said. Kimco's investment in the chain was recently valued before the Rite Aid deal was announced at around $140 million, for comparison.

Immediately following the merger's completion, if all Rite Aid shareholders elect to receive shares plus cash, Albertsons Cos. will have approximately 392.9 million shares outstanding on a pro forma and fully diluted basis.

"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", said Rite Aid CEO John Standley, who will become CEO of the combined enterprise.

As at the very top there will be executives from both firms on the management team, which will maintain joint headquarters in Boise, ID and Camp Hill, PA.

The transaction is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval and is expected to close in the second half of the year.

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