Washington state judge schedules hearing on Albertsons dividend for next Thursday


Top Grocery Retailer Kroger To Acquire Rival Albertsons For $24.6 Billion

Mario Tama

A Washington state judge set next Thursday for a preliminary injunction hearing on Albertsons (NYSE:ACI) plan to pay a $4 billion dividend in conjunction with its planned sale to Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR).

King County Superior Court Judge Ken Schubert ruled in a Zoom hearing on Thursday after more than an hour of arguments from the supermarket chains and Washington state attorneys.

The Thursday hearing came after a King County Superior Court Commissioner Henry Judson judge granted a temporary restraining order last Thursday that blocked payment of Albertsons (ACI) dividend, which was originally scheduled to be paid on Monday.

Judson agreed to extend the temporary restraining order on payment of the dividend until next Thursday, Schubert said at the Zoom hearing.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. ruled Tuesday Albertsons (ACI) can proceed with the dividend. US District Judge Carl Nichols denied the request made by attorneys general in California, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. to block the dividend temporarily.

The suit in Washington accuses the two companies of violating antitrust and consumer protection laws and seeks to block the payment to shareholders on these grounds.

On Friday Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and four other lawmakers asked private equity firm Cerberus to halt the payment of the Albertsons (ACI) dividend. Warren last month called for the Federal Trade Commission to block Kroger’s (KR) planned $25 billion deal.

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