• States, grocers asked court to approve FTC settlement terms
  • Grocers had agreed to sell off 81 stores as part of merger

Six U.S. states allowed European grocers Royal Ahold NV and Delhaize Group to proceed with their $28 billion tie-up in exchange for court-ordered concessions.

The states filed a lawsuit and a settlement agreement just days after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission cleared the deal between the two companies, whose stores include Stop & Shop, Giant, Martin’s and Food Lion. As part of the federal approval, the grocers agreed in an out-of-court deal with the FTC to sell 81 stores.

In the suit filed Monday in Washington, six states -- Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania -- argued that the tie-up would adversely affect competition and harm the public interest. In a joint filing that accompanied the suit, the retailers and the states asked the court to sign off on the terms of last week’s store-sale agreement.

The FTC granted its approval of the tie-up on July 22, contingent on the sale agreement. The companies announced the completed deal on July 23.

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