January 27, 2015 / 6:01 PM / 5 years ago

Albertsons, Safeway to sell 168 stores to get merger okay

Customers leave an Albertsons grocery store with their purchases in Burbank, California July 17, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Supermarket chains Albertsons and Safeway SWY.N agreed to sell 168 stores in eight states to win U.S. antitrust approval for their $9.2 billion merger, the Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday.

Albertsons, which has 630 supermarkets under various brand names, and Safeway, which has 1,332 stores, will divest stores in Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming, the FTC said.

The merger between Albertsons, which is owned by Cerberus Capital Management, and Safeway will close within the next week, the companies said in a statement.

Once that happens, Safeway will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, the companies said.

The transaction was announced in March.

The divested stores will be purchased by Haggen Holdings, LLC, Supervalu Inc SVU.N, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc and Associated Food Stores Inc.

“Absent a remedy, this acquisition would likely lead to higher prices and lower quality for supermarket shoppers in 130 communities,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. “This settlement will ensure that consumers in those communities continue to benefit from competition among their local supermarkets.”

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by David Gregorio

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