Kroger-Albertsons merger fight could impact 2024 elections

By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An attempt by the Biden administration to block supermarket chain Kroger’s $24.6 billion deal to buy rival Albertsons could have an outsized impact in two 2024 election battleground states , tired of inflation, Nevada and Arizona.

Grocers have dozens of stores in Western states, and the people who live there already pay some of the biggest grocery bills in the country.

Democrats hope to use the merger to turn it into an election-year triumph, courting unions fearful of job losses and assuaging Americans’ key concerns about the U.S. president. Joe BidenRe-election of: anger at excessively high prices.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is joined in its lawsuit to block the deal by eight states, including Arizona and Nevada, which have argued it would raise food prices for millions of Americans and increase the influence of the combined chain in wage negotiations with workers. Both states have Democratic attorneys general.

Even before the trial, Biden and the White House had criticized supermarkets and other businesses for retaining too much profit, selling smaller products at the same price or raising junk fees.

Biden economic adviser Jon Donenberg said in a statement Monday that while the White House cannot comment on pending litigation, Biden believes businesses should be “controlled by healthy competition” and that “Biden s “committed to reducing grocery costs for families using all the tools at our disposal.”

The Democratic president’s campaign sees Arizona and Nevada as among the most intensely competitive in the November election, where a total of 17 Electoral College votes are up for grabs to reach the 270 needed to defeat likely Republican challenger Donald Trump. The Biden and Trump campaigns declined to comment.

In Nevada, where census data shows families spend the second most on groceries in the country at $295 a week, Biden tried to court unions and Latino voters after winning the state by narrow margins in . ..

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