The Vons Companies, Inc. has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to reopen and set aside two consent orders that require it to obtain FTC approval before acquiring supermarkets in certain geographic locations. Prior approval of acquisitions in certain cities and towns in California and Nevada is required as part of a 1988 consent order settling FTC allegations that Vons? acquisition of three Safeway divisions with stores in southern California and Nevada violated federal antitrust laws. Prior approval of supermarket acquisitions in San Luis Obispo County, California, stems from a 1992 consent order resulting from Vons? acquisition of retail grocery stores from Williams Bros. The petition also seeks clarification of a prior-notice provision contained in the 1988 consent order relating to acquisitions of grocery stores in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, California and the cities of San Bernardino and Riverside, California.
Vons is based in Arcadia, California.
Vons seeks termination of the provisions pursuant to the Commission?s recently-announced prior-approval policy. Under that policy, the FTC said that with certain exceptions, it no longer will routinely include prior approval provisions in orders stemming from merger cases and that it presumes that the public interest requires reopening such provisions in outstanding merger orders and making them consistent with the policy. The Vons? petition does not request deletion of the prior-notice provision for Los Angeles and Orange Counties and the cities of San Bernardino and Riverside, but asks that the provision be ?[m]odified to clarify that ?prior written notice? means a letter to the Secretary of the Commission,? not a prior notice procedure that would delay acquisitions.
The petition will be subject to public comment for 30 days, until Jan 8, 1996, after which the Commission will issue its decision. Comments should be addressed to FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Copies of the petitions 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 is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC?s World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov