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Grocer Albertsons to buy Rite Aid

By DREW ARMSTRONG and KATERINA PETROFF
Bloomberg

February 20. 2018 8:40PM



Grocer Albertsons will buy drugstore chain Rite Aid in a deal that would accelerate the remaking of the U.S. retail and healthcare industries.

The takeover serves several purposes. Rite Aid will get a buyer after a failed merger with another chain last year. Albertsons will add new locations and size amid increasing pressure from online competitors.

And the grocer's private-equity owners will exit their 2013 investment without having to go through an initial public offering in a turbulent market.

The combined companies will have about 4,900 stores, including 4,350 pharmacy locations, in 38 states, they said in a statement.

The Albertsons pharmacies will be rebranded under the Rite Aid name. Rite Aid operates 68 stores in New Hampshire, according to the company's website.

Retailers have been under growing pressure from online competitors like Amazon.com, and the corner drugstore has been no exception.

While the prescription drug businesses at pharmacies has been relatively stable, front-of-the-store sales have been in decline. Giant retailers like Walmart are also looking to play a bigger role.

The result has been consolidation. CVS Health Corp. agreed last year to pay about $68 billion for health insurer Aetna, while the Wall Street Journal recently reported that Walgreens Boots Alliance is in early talks to buy drug distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp. after its takeover of Rite Aid was scaled back last year for antitrust reasons.


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