The Federal Trade Commission says the parent company of Boises Albertsons LLC has to comply to settle charges that its Sept. 19 deal to purchase the entire Texas-based United Supermarkets chain would break antitrust laws.
Albertsons LLC operated 72 supermarkets in Texas when it struck a deal to buy Uniteds 51 grocery stores and seven convenience stores in north and west Texas, according to the FTC.
The federal agency announced 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 Albertsons LLC parent company, has agreed to sell its stores in those two cities 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 Albertsons 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 FTCs order also requires the Boise company to notify the agency of any plans to buy a supermarket in Amarillo or Wichita Falls for the next 10 years.
The proposed agreement is subject to public comment for 30 days, through Jan. 22.
Audrey Dutton: 377-6448, Twitter: @IDS_Audrey