The Federal Trade Commission says the parent company of Boise's Albertson's LLC must sell two stores in Texas to settle charges that its Sept. 19 deal to purchase the entire Texas-based United Supermarkets chain would break antitrust laws.
Albertson's LLC operated 72 supermarkets in Texas when it struck a deal to buy United's 51 grocery stores and seven convenience stores in North and West Texas, according to the FTC.
The federal agency said in an announcement Monday that the merger "is likely to reduce competition in local grocery markets within Amarillo and Wichita Falls, which would harm consumers through higher prices, lower quality and reduced service levels."
AB Acquisition, the Albertson's LLC parent company, has agreed to sell its stores in Amarillo and Wichita Falls to MAL Enterprises Inc., which operates Lawrence Brothers IGA, Cash Saver and Save-A-Lot supermarkets. The two stores will become Cash Saver stores, which sell products at 10 percent above cost, according to the FTC.
The Albertson's parent company has until Jan. 13 or 10 days after its merger with United whichever comes first to complete the sale of the two stores.
The FTC's order also requires the Boise company to notify the FTC of any plans to buy a supermarket in Amarillo or Wichita Falls for 10 years.
The proposed agreement is subject to public comment for 30 days, through Jan. 22. Visit ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/albertsonsunitedconsent for directions on making a comment.