WA Supreme Court clears way for Albertsons’ $4 billion dividend

WA Supreme Court clears way for Albertsons’ $4 billion dividend

Paul Roberts

The Washington state Supreme Court has swept apart the final authorized impediment to a $4 billion dividend by Albertson to its shareholders forward of a controversial proposed merger with rival Kroger.

On Tuesday, the state’s highest court docket refused to overview a case towards the dividend introduced by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Ferguson had argued that the hefty fee might financially weaken Albertsons and result in closures of areas of Albertsons and of Safeway, which Albertsons owns.

In a terse, two-page ruling, nonetheless, the court docket declined to overview the case or lengthen a brief restraining order blocking the dividend.

Albertsons desires to pay the dividend to shareholders forward of its proposed $25 billion merger with Kroger, which owns QFC and Fred Meyer.

“We respect the choice of the Court, however we’re stunned and disenchanted the Supreme Court determined to not hear this case,” Ferguson stated in an announcement Tuesday afternoon.

Ferguson’s case was the ultimate impediment to the dividend after a federal choose in Washington, D.C., rejected comparable efforts by California, Illinois and the District of Columbia.

In an announcement Tuesday, Albertsons stated it will  “instantly start the method of paying” the $4 billion dividend.

Grocery-store closures have been a major concern in the Seattle area, the place Albertsons and Kroger have almost 200 areas. Kroger and Albertsons have each repeatedly rejected that argument. 

Grocery unions additionally expressed dismay at Tuesday’s ruling.

“We are disenchanted to see a ruling that favors a small variety of ultra-wealthy shareholders over the numerous hundreds of important staff and thousands and thousands of Americans who might be left to endure the results of the outright monetary looting of Albertsons,” learn a joint assertion by a number of grocery unions, together with United Food and Commercial Workers International, Local 3000, which represents staff at Seattle-area Albertsons and Kroger shops.

Tuesday’s ruling doesn’t have an effect on the months-long approval course of for the proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger, which will be held up by each federal and state regulators, Ferguson stated.

“This merger is way from a executed deal,” he stated. “My workforce and I might be conducting an intensive overview.”