The Federal Trade Commission has appointed a trustee to divest retail pharmacy assets located in Rite Aid stores in Bucksport and Lincoln, Maine, and in Berlin, New Hampshire, following Rite Aid Corporation's failure to meet the deadline for doing so. Rite Aid agreed to divest the pharmacy assets by Dec. 21, 1995, under a consent agreement it entered into with the FTC to settle charges over its acquisition of the LaVerdiere's chain of drug stores. The agreement is designed to restore competition among retail pharmacies in three geographic areas. The trustee appointed to divest the assets is R. Steven Thing, a principal of the Portland, Maine, accounting firm of Thing and Moir, P.A.
"Competition in the marketplace is the best way to keep prices low and quality and service high," said William J. Baer, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition. "When the FTC requires a divestiture to resolve allegations that a merger would reduce competition, the goal is to restore that competition as soon as possible. Therefore, it's critical that we take dives- titure orders and their deadlines very seriously, and that's why divestiture provisions in merger orders include language allowing the Commission to appoint a trustee who will work aggressively and quickly to accomplish the necessary divestitures when the respondents fail to do so."
Rite Aid is based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. It acquired LaVerdiere's Enterprises, Inc. in 1994 for $50 million. The December 1994 FTC consent order settling charges over the acquisition permitted Rite Aid to go ahead with the deal only so long as it agreed to undertake the required divestitures within 12 months (by Dec. 21, 1995) and to abide by certain other reporting provisions.
The Commission vote to appoint the trustee in this matter was 5-0.
Copies of the 1994 consent order and other documents associated with this case 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 202-326-2710. 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
(FTC Docket No. C-3546)