UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In the Matter of
ALBERTSONS, INC., a corporation;
File No. 981-0134
ASSET MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT
This Asset Maintenance Agreement ("Agreement") is by and between Albertsons, Inc. ("Albertsons"), a corporation organized, existing, and doing business under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Delaware, with its office and principal place of business located at 250 East Parkcenter Boulevard, Boise, Idaho 83726; Locomotive Acquisition Corporation ("Locomotive"), a corporation organized, existing, and doing business under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Delaware, with its office and principal place of business located at c/o Albertsons, Inc., 250 East Parkcenter Boulevard, Boise, Idaho 83726; Buttrey Food and Drug Store Company ("Buttrey"), a corporation organized, existing, and doing business under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Delaware, with its office and principal place of business located at 601 6th Street, S.W., Great Falls, Montana 59404; FS Equity Partners II, L.P. ("FS Equity Partners"), a limited partnership organized, existing, and doing business under and by virtue of the laws of the State of California, with its office and principal place of business located at 11100 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 1900, Los Angeles, California 90025 (collectively "Proposed Respondents"); and the Federal Trade Commission ("Commission"), an independent agency of the United States Government, established under the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, 15 U.S.C. § 41, et seq. (collectively "the Parties").
WHEREAS, Albertsons and Locomotive, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Albertsons, pursuant to an Agreement and Plan of Merger dated January 19, 1998, agreed to acquire all of the outstanding stock of Buttrey, of which a majority of the voting securities are owned by FS Equity Partners (hereinafter "the proposed Acquisition"); and
WHEREAS, the Commission is now investigating the proposed Acquisition to determine if it would violate any of the statutes the Commission enforces; and
WHEREAS, if the Commission accepts the attached Agreement Containing Consent Order ("Consent Order"), the Commission is required to place it on the public record for a period of sixty (60) days for public comment and may subsequently either withdraw such acceptance or issue and serve its Complaint and its Decision and final Order in disposition of the proceeding pursuant to the provisions of Section 2.34 of the Commission's Rules; and
WHEREAS, the Commission is concerned that if an agreement is not reached preserving the status quo ante of the Assets To Be Divested as defined in the attached Consent Order (hereinafter referred to as "Assets" or "Supermarket(s)") during the period prior to their divestiture, any divestiture resulting from the Consent Order or from any other administrative proceeding challenging the legality of the Acquisition might not be possible, or might produce a less than effective remedy; and
WHEREAS, the purpose of this Agreement and of the Consent Order is to preserve the Assets pending their divestiture pursuant to the terms of the Consent Order, in order to remedy any anticompetitive effects of the proposed Acquisition; and
WHEREAS, Proposed Respondents entering into this Agreement shall in no way be construed as an admission by Proposed Respondents that the proposed Acquisition is illegal; and
WHEREAS, Proposed Respondents understand that no act or transaction contemplated by this Agreement shall be deemed immune or exempt from the provisions of the antitrust laws or the Federal Trade Commission Act by reason of anything contained in this Agreement.
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the Commission's agreement that at the time it accepts the Consent Order for public comment it will grant early termination of the Hart-Scott- Rodino waiting period, the Parties agree as follows:
TERMS OF AGREEMENT
1. Proposed Respondents agree to execute, and upon its issuance to be bound by, the attached Consent Order. The Parties further agree that each term defined in the attached Consent Order shall have the same meaning in this Agreement.
2. Proposed Respondents agree that from the date Proposed Respondents sign this Agreement until the earlier of the dates listed in subparagraphs 2.a. and 2.b., Proposed Respondents will comply with the provisions of this Agreement:
3. Proposed Respondents shall maintain the viability, marketability, and competitiveness of the Assets, and shall not cause the wasting or deterioration of the Assets, nor shall they cause the Assets to be operated in a manner inconsistent with applicable laws, nor shall they sell, transfer, encumber or otherwise impair the marketability, viability, or competitiveness of the Assets. Proposed Respondents shall conduct or cause to be conducted the business of the Supermarkets in the regular and ordinary course and in accordance with past practice (including regular repair and maintenance efforts) and shall use their best efforts to preserve the existing relationships with each Supermarket's suppliers, customers, employees and others having business relations with the Supermarkets, in the ordinary course of the Supermarkets' business and in accordance with past practice. Proposed Respondents shall not terminate the operation of any Supermarket. Proposed Respondents shall continue to maintain the inventory of each Supermarket at levels and selections (e.g., stock-keeping units) consistent with those maintained by such Proposed Respondent(s) at such Supermarket in the ordinary course of business consistent with past practice. Proposed Respondents shall use best efforts to keep the organization and properties of each of the Supermarkets intact, including current business operations, physical facilities, working conditions, and a work force of equivalent size, training, and expertise associated with each Supermarket. Included in the above obligations, Proposed Respondents shall, without limitation:
4. Should the Commission seek in any proceeding to compel Proposed Respondents to divest themselves of the Assets or to seek any other injunctive or equitable relief, Proposed Respondents shall not raise any objection based upon the expiration of the applicable Hart-Scott- Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act waiting period or the fact that the Commission has not sought to enjoin the Acquisition. Proposed Respondents also waive all rights to contest the validity of this Agreement.
5. For the purpose of determining or securing compliance with this Agreement, subject to any legally recognized privilege, and upon written request with five (5) days notice to Proposed Respondents and to their principal office(s), Proposed Respondents shall permit any duly authorized representative or representatives of the Commission:
6. Upon consummation of the Acquisition, the obligations of Proposed Respondent FS Equity Partners under this Agreement shall terminate.
7. This Agreement shall not be binding on the Commission until approved by the Commission.
Signed this _____ day of August, 1998.
ALBERTSONS, INC., a corporation
LOCOMOTIVE ACQUISITION CORPORATION
BUTTREY FOOD AND DRUG STORE COMPANY, a corporation
FS EQUITY PARTNERS II, L.P., a partnership
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION