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Harris Teeter bought by Kroger Co.

Shoppers in Virginia could be affected by the merger of Harris Teeter Supermarkets after the Kroger Co. completed their purchase of the company on Jan. 17. The Federal Trade Commission did not require any of the grocery stores to be sold even in locations where the two stores are in close proximity. In some cases, the two former competitors are next door or just across the street from each other. Harris Teeter will be part of a merger as a subsidiary of Kroger.

A top administrator with Kroger reported that the supermarket chain has no plans to shut down any stores. He explained that in some cases, competing stores both have strong sales. Kroger has 2,641 stores across 34 states and Washington. The Harris Teeter chain was founded in 1960 and has more than 220 stores in eight states and Washington. They also operate distribution centers in North Carolina where they are also headquartered. The company employs about 26,000 people.

Kroger, the largest grocer in the country, is expanding into Kroger Marketplace and broadening their merchandise selection. As part of the agreement in the sale, Harris Teeter shareholders will each receive just under $50 per share of stock. Both companies have been working on the merger since July 2013, but were waiting to hear how the FTC would handle the proximity of stores that directly compete with each other.

Merging two large companies can be a daunting prospect that requires a great deal of legal knowledge and finesse. A business and commercial lawyer might be able to help clients with their needs in mergers and acquisitions.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, "Kroger completes Harris Teeter merger, plans to keep all stores", Carolyn Shapiro, January 29, 2014

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