Rite Aid and Albertsons agree to call off merger in face of opposition

Rite Aid and Albertsons announced Wednesday they have mutually agreed to end their proposed merger following increasing protests from investors.

Rite Aid and Albertsons announced Wednesday they have mutually agreed to end their proposed merger following increasing protests from investors. "While we believed in the merits of the combination with Albertsons, we have heard the views expressed by our stockholders and are committed to moving forward and executing our strategic plan as a stand-alone company," said Rite Aid CEO John T. Standley. In a statement, Albertsons said that it did not agree with "the conclusion of certain Rite Aid stockholders and third-party advisory firms" that the deal undervalued the drugstore chain; however, it would not alter the terms of the deal. Rite Aid shareholders would have owned 30% of the combined companies under the proposed deal. The arrangement would have also had Albertsons rebrand its in-store pharmacies under the Rite Aid name, and it would continue to operate some standalone Rite Aid pharmacies. Previous merger talks between Rite Aid and Walgreens ended after antitrust officials indicated approval of the deal was not likely. Last year, Rite Aid agreed to sell 1,932 stores and 3 distribution centers to Walgreens for more than $4 billion.