FTC May Sue to Block Walgreens-Rite Aid Deal
The Walgreens-Rite Aid merger is increasingly looking like it may be blocked by the Federal Trade Commission. Capitol Forum, a trade publication, reported that the FTC was considering a lawsuit. Bloomberg reports the time line to complete the deal has been extended until July 31, as antitrust regulators review it. Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina said in an April 5 earnings call the company could, within weeks, declare that it has complied with the FTC’s request for information, a more aggressive tactic to try and push the merger through. Such a move would force the agency’s hands by giving it a deadline to make a decision.
Total Retail’s Take: This would be a major hit to all companies involved. The FTC has blocked previous acquisitions as well, most recently denying a Staples-Office Depot union. In that case, a federal judge agreed with the FTC’s concerns. We’ll see what happens with the Walgreens-Rite Aid deal, as well as how both companies would move on if the acquisition was blocked.