Walgreens head of communications, Chuck Greener, said his company hasn’t received “official notice” from the Federal Trade Commission on whether it would approve the merger in its current form. The FTC has asked Fred’s for additional information, he said, declining to comment further.
The acquisition hasn’t yet received antitrust approval from the FTC, and Walgreens hasn’t made a key filing saying it’s answered all the agency’s questions. Once it does, that would give the FTC another 30 days to decide whether to approve the deal or sue to stop it. The companies had agreed to close the planned $9.4 billion merger, which would create the largest drugstore chain in the U.S. by number of stores, by Friday.
While either company can terminate the deal after the Jan. 27 deadline, they can also agree to extend the date again, even if they haven’t yet gained antitrust clearance.
Walgrens would have to pay Rite Aid up to $650 million should it walk away from the deal.