The deal includes the more than three dozen Rite Aid stores across the Buffalo Niagara region.
A deal value was not disclosed in a statement released Tuesday by the companies. It will establish the leading integrated food, health, and wellness retailer on the West Coast and will have a strong brand position in the Northeast. And, they're not the only ones feeling the heat.
Albertsons said it would convert its existing pharmacies to Rite Aid stores and let existing Rite Aid outlets operate as stand alone pharmacies.
"Drug retailing has had its own challenges with reimbursement pressure and weak front-end sales as evidenced in Rite-Aid's weak profits over the last couple of years, and competing with much larger and more diversified drug retailers like CVS and Walgreens will be a formidable challenge", wrote Moody's vice president Mickey Chadha, in an email sent to Food Dive.
Mr. Miller would serve as chairman of the combined company and John Standley, the Rite Aid chairman and chief executive, would be chief executive. Royal Bank of Canada set a $2.00 price objective on Rite Aid and gave the company a "hold" rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th.
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Reportedly, the company is looking forward to a cash and stock deal with Rite Aid. Stand-alone Rite Aid stores will continue to operate with few, if any changes. In addition, investing in preferred relationships with EnvisionRxOptions, other pharmacy benefit managers, and regional payors is expected to drive prescription growth.
The merger will also allow greater utilization of data analytics and integrated loyalty programs, the companies said.
"The combined platform positions Rite Aid to capitalize on our pharmacy expertise and expand and enhance our pharmacy footprint", he said. "We are confident that delivering improved customer experiences and value will drive growth and profitability while creating compelling long-term value for shareholders". Albertsons even has launched a digital platform created to give CPG brands access to shopper data to help them deliver targeted ad campaigns, showing that it is very serious about engaging consumers at all points of the shopper journey.
Heightened competition for M&A means companies increasingly aren't getting their top pick of acquisition targets (Albertsons even approached Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. earlier last year). The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2018.
Albertsons also owns Safeway stores, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs, and the meal kit company Plated. 144,405,934 shares of the company's stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 21,600,000. Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD)'s short interest is 143.46 million shares, or 13.83% of the float. At the checkout counter, brochures state "This Rite Aid will become Walgreens" and answers questions about how the transition will affect the store and their prescriptions.