but preserves its ability to protect consumers if investigation shows acquisition would reduce competition
Rite Aid Corporation has entered into an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission under which it can acquire several Brooks retail pharmacies in Maine from Maxi Drug, Inc., pending completion of the FTC investigation of whether the acquisition violates antitrust laws. The agreement stipulates that Rite Aid must maintain the marketability and viability of both its own and the Brooks pharmacies in specified areas in Maine until the FTC investigation is complete. The arrangement preserves the FTC's ability to take whatever action is necessary to restore retail pharmacy competition in those areas under investigation, if the Commission determines that the merger substantially reduces competition in those areas.
As a condition to the Commission agreeing not to challenge the acquisition in federal district court at this time, Rite Aid has signed a broad settlement that would restore any lost competition in the relevant areas, and require Rite Aid to maintain the marketability and viability of both its own and the Brooks stores in the relevant markets pending completion of the FTC investigation. At that time, the Commission will determine whether any antitrust enforcement action is appropriate and, if so, could accept the settlement or a modified one. In the meantime, the agreement preserves the Commission's ability to protect consumers from any anticompetitive effects of the acquisition, including higher prices.
Rite Aid is based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Maxi Drug, a subsidiary of the Canadian corporation, Jean Coutu Group, is based in Warwick, Rhode Island.
The Federal Trade Commission's Chicago Regional Office investigated this case jointly with the Maine Attorney General's Office, which has obtained a similar agreement that it filed in Maine state court this morning.
The Commission vote to enter into the interim agreement was 5-0.
NOTE: The agreement does not constitute an admission by Rite Aid of a law violation.
Copies of the agreement are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580: 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it happens, call the FTC's NewsPhone at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other documents also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC File No. 951 0120)