Kroger's winning $2.44 bid to buy the grocery chain Harris Teeter could open some regional doors for its new Cincinnati-based owners. The deal raises a few key questions, however, and each of them will be important to watch as events play out in the coming months:
1. Will the move provoke additional acquisitions and mergers?
“Publix and Ahold will likely need to consider a bid for strategic purposes because Kroger is known to compete on price,” according to analysis from UBS Investment Research, the Orlando Business Journal reports. Publix was rumored to be interested in Ahold's 212 stores, but has thus far made no public indications that it is ready to pounce. Hotter competition from Kroger in southeaster and mid-Atlantic states, however, could provide some new motivation.
2. Will Harris Teeter customers accept its new owners?
Customers have raised fears over cleanliness, customer service quality and even the fate of Harris Teeter’s double-coupon policy, according to a NewsOberver.com story.
3. Will the Kroger/HT deal ultimately go through?
No one should be counting their chickens before they hatch. Kroger current has a winning bid in, but competitors could still step in to issue competing bids before everything is finalized.