FTC clears Albertsons’ purchase of Safeway

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NEW YORK — Supermarket chain Albertsons says U.S. regulators have approved its purchase of competitor Safeway Inc.

The companies said Tuesday the deal has been cleared by the Federal Trade Commission and should close within five business days.

Albertsons, which is part-owned by Cerberus Capital Management, agreed to buy Safeway in March for $7.64 billion in cash. The FTC said the sale would hurt consumers in 130 markets, and in December the companies said they would sell 168 stores in eight states to preserve competition.

Cerberus owns the Jewel-Osco chain. Safeway formerly owned the Dominick’s chain.

Most of the stores will be bought by Haggen, a chain in the Northwest. Haggen will expand to 164 locations from 18.

The companies have about 2,500 stores combined.

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