Rite Aid and Albertsons terminate merger amid opposition to deal

09 August, 2018, 20:07 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • Rite Aid Chairman and CEO John Standley said the chain is ‘‘committed to moving forward and executing our strategic plan as a company.”

Rite Aid Corp. and Albertsons Cos. agreed to scrap a merger that would have helped reshape the US retail and health-care industries, as opposition to the transaction increased before a shareholder vote.

The announcement came just hours before Rite Aid shareholders were due to vote on whether to accept Albertsons proposal to create a food and drugs retail powerhouse with $83 billion in annual sales.

Shares of the drugstore chain plunged after markets opened Thursday.

"We have heard the views expressed by our stockholders and are committed to moving forward and executing our strategic plan as a standalone company", Rite Aid CEO John Standley said in a statement. In September 2017, the two companies announced a scaled back version for almost 2,000 of Rite Aid's stores. Albertsons said it was unwilling to change the terms of the agreement.

As a result, the special meeting of Rite Aid's stockholders, which was to be held on August 9, 2018, will not take place.

Under the terms of the agreement, neither company will be responsible for payments to the other party.

Rite Aid management "will now after multiple attempts to sell the business have to go back to the drawing board, which is likely going to be a heavy lift", Evercore ISI analyst Ross Muken said. The investment firm said in June that it would vote its roughly 47 million shares against the deal.

The deal was partially meant to increase foot traffic to Albertsons' in-store pharmacies (which would have been rebranded to Rite Aid) and to increase the likelihood that customers heading to pick up their medication would be tempted to pick up some groceries on their way out.

But it will face significant challenges continuing as a stand-alone company. "After the sell-off of stores to Walgreens, it lacks scale".

Earlier this week, Rite Aid said it was chopping its fiscal 2019 forecast because generic drug pricing wasn't shaping up how it expected in April, when it first laid out expectations.

As it considers these changes, Rite Aid will continue to engage with stockholders to ensure alignment between the company and its investors.

Shares of Rite Aid fell almost 12 percent to $1.53 at the opening bell, it's worst sell-off in a year.

The nation's largest drugstore chain, Walgreens, tried unsuccessfully to buy all of Rite Aid previous year but scuttled that deal after encountering regulatory resistance.



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