FTC Approves Kroger, Harris Teeter Merger

by Nate Hunter

Cincinnati — The deal is expected to close by the end of January.

Cincinnati — Federal regulators have granted Cincinnati-based Kroger clearance to close on its $2.5 billion acquisition of North Carolina-based grocer Harris Teeter.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) granted early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 — a federal law that requires parties of certain transactions (such as mergers and acquisitions) to file with the FTC and wait a specified time period.

Harris Teeter differentiates itself from traditional grocery stores by occupying a niche at the higher end of the market, near Whole Foods Market and privately owned Trader Joe’s, say analysts.

Under the deal, Harris Teeter shareholders will receive $49.38 in cash for each share of Harris Teeter common stock they own.

Already the nation’s largest supermarket chain with 2,400 stores and $96 billion in annual sales, the deal extends Kroger’s reach into the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The 212 stores added to Kroger’s brand are located primarily in high-growth markets, vacation destinations and university communities in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia.

Kroger officials say they expect the deal will close by the end January. The deal was first announced July 9, 2013.

“This is a financially and strategically compelling transaction and a unique opportunity for our shareholders and associates,” said David Dillon, chairman and CEO of Kroger in a previous statement. “We look forward to bringing together the best of Kroger and Harris Teeter while continuing to operate and grow the Harris Teeter brands.”

Harris also operates distribution centers for grocery, frozen and perishable foods in Greensboro, N.C. and Indian Trail, N.C. and a dairy facility in High Point, N.C. Harris posted revenues of about $4.7 billion for fiscal year 2013.

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