Washington, DC - The Federal Trade Commission has approved an application by Albertsons to modify its contract with Haggen Holdings, LLC, under an order that required Albertsons to sell supermarkets in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington to Haggen.

The order settled charges that Albertsons’ acquisition of Safeway Inc. was likely to lessen supermarket competition in 130 local markets. As part of a contract negotiated between Albertsons and Haggen, the parties agreed to certain restrictions on Albertsons’ ability, after the divestiture, to solicit and hire employees of stores Albertsons had transferred to Haggen.

In light of Haggen’s announced store closings and pending bankruptcy, the parties now seek to modify that contract. According to the application, the modification will allow Albertsons to re-hire former employees without incurring “the risk of being accused of violating” its contract with Haggen.

The Commission has approved this application on an expedited basis (and waived the 30-day public comment period) to help employees of the divested stores more quickly find alternative employment.

The Commission vote approving Albertsons’ application was 4-0. (FTC File No. 141-0108, Docket No. C-4504; staff contact: Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526.)