As part of the deal to combine the third largest drug chain with the third largest pure-play supermarket company, Albertsons would hold 71 percent of newly combined company that, because of the Camp Hill, PA-based drug chain’s current status, will remain a publicly-traded company. The deal will enhance Albertsons’ presence on the East Coast and West Coast where most of the Rite Aid’s stores are located. Rite Aid sold more than 1,900 other drug units and three distribution centers to Walgreens last year.
Once the deal is completed later this year, current Rite Aid chief executive John Standley will become CEO of the new organization and Miller, whom he worked with at Fred Meyer, will become chairman. Standley and Miller have a long association – with Miller previously serving as CEO of Rite Aid (he brought Standley in and remains on Rite Aid’s board) and at Pathmark where the 73-year old industry leader was chairman of the board. The new company will maintain two headquarters locations – Boise and Camp Hill.
The combined company had not chosen a new corporate name, but it was revealed that the Rite Aid pharmacy brand will extend into most of Albertsons’ existing banners/brands including Acme, Safeway, Shaw’s, Star Market, Albertsons, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Haggen, Vons, Carrs and its newly acquired meal-kit firm, Plated. In the Chicago market, some stores will offer the Rite Aid brand, but other locations will retain the Jewel-Osco name because of its dominance.
The integrated company will operate approximately 4,900 locations, 4,350 pharmacy counters and 320 clinics across 38 states and Washington DC, serving more than 40 million customers per week.
The combined organization would create a retail juggernaut with $83 billion in annual sales. Moreover, with Albertsons now poised to become a publicly-traded firm, its 12-year ownership by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP will end. Cerberus attempted to engineer a public offering for Albertsons in 2015 but scrapped the plan because of unfavorable market conditions.
“We know that scale matters,” Miller told the Wall Street Journal. “We continue to grow to compete with all competitors, not just Amazon.”