The federal government has asked Safeway to hand over more information about its plans to merge with Albertsons and create a national supermarket conglomerate, marking the latest step in a thorny deal between two of the nation's largest grocers.
Safeway said last week that it was working to provide those documents to the Federal Trade Commission, which likely will outline how the Pleasanton, Calif.-based grocer plans to comply with antitrust laws as it moves forward with a merger with Boise-based Albertsons.
"For a transaction of this size ... a second request for information is common practice and not unexpected," said Safeway spokesman Brian Dowling. "We continue to work cooperatively with FTC and expect to satisfy all of their information needs within a reasonable time. We still expect the merger to be complete in the fourth quarter of this year."
Combined, the two grocery chains will have about 2,400 stores, which will overlap in several areas of the country, including Southern California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona and Texas.
In 2012, the FTC reviewed 1,429 mergers and acquisitions. It sued to block just 10 of those -- less than 1 percent. That same year, the FTC negotiated and settled with 15 companies that had to divest or make other changes to meet federal laws.
Heather Somerville: 510-208-6413