Lina Kahn seems to have Kroger in her sights

Posted on Aug 11, 2023

As Kroger seeks to close its merger with Albertsons, it would appear that Lina Kahn wants to make the FTC a significant hurdle.  From Reuters:

U.S. antitrust enforcers reviewing Kroger’s (KR.N) plan to buy rival grocery giant Albertsons are probing whether suppliers will be squeezed in a way that hurts small grocery chains, according to people who spoke to federal and state regulators.

Staffers for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which leads the probe into the $24.6 billion deal announced in October, have reached out to experts in farming, food deserts and smaller grocery chains, according to people who spoke with the agency. Staff from states probing the deal, led by Colorado, often joined the calls.

There is something interesting here.  There is concern on how this merger would affect suppliers and competitors, but no mention of consumers.  This is right in line with Lina Kahn’s hipster economics where in the consumer is not and should not be the main focus of anti-trust policy.  The consumer welfare standard has been, for lack of a better word, standard in the US for a long time.  Kahn, however, wants to take us back to an era of not only big government, but big progressive government.  This one will be interesting to watch and certainly will drag out for a long time.