Rite Aid Corporation and Albertsons Companies announced on Wednesday they are terminating their merger agreement the evening ahead of a shareholder vote over the deal.
The $24 billion deal, announced in February, has faced push-back from a number of retail investors as well as top ten shareholder Highfields Capital Management. Critics have argued the deal provides Albertsons’ private equity owner, Cerberus Capital Management, a vehicle to take the company public without rewarding Rite Aid shareholders in turn.
Influential investor advisory firms Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services have both urged investors to vote against the tie-up.
“While we believed in the merits of the combination with Albertsons, we have heard the views expressed by our stockholders and are committed to moving forward and executing our strategic plan as a standalone company,” Rite Aid CEO John Standley said in a statement.
Rite Aid also said Wednesday that its board is “evaluating governance changes at the company.” The company added it will “continue to engage with stockholders” as it evaluates those changes.
The pharmacy will hold an annual meeting October 30, 2018..
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