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A new player in WBA-Rite Aid-FTC talks?

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As the clock winds down on today’s deal end date for the Walgreens-Rite Aid merger, a report of a new potential player has emerged.

Citing anonymous sources, the New York Post reported Friday that private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has expressed interest in the 865 Rite Aid stores that Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid had agreed to divest to Fred’s Inc. to gain Federal Trade Commission for the $17 billion merger deal.

Cerberus — which leads the investment group that owns Albertsons — had lost out to Fred’s $950 million bid for the 865 Rite Aid stores, the Post said. A number of recent news reports have said that the FTC still has concerns about WBA’s planned acquisition of Rite Aid, notably regarding Fred’s ability to move forward with the store purchase and be a viable operator going forward.

Investors Business Daily reported that Rite Aid’s stock price plunged on Friday as the merger deadline neared but then recovered after the report on Cerberus’ potential involvement.

Industry observers expect the WBA and Rite Aid boards to extend the Jan. 27 merger deal end date, but as of late Friday no announcement to that effect had been made.


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