By Anirban Sen and Abigail Summerville
U.S. grocery company Kroger Co. is in talks to merge with smaller rival Albertsons Companies Inc in a tie-up that would create a supermarket titan, people familiar with the matter said.
The merger of the nation’s No. 1 and 2 standalone grocers, if reached, could provide the retailers with a leg up in negotiations with consumer-product makers such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever at a time of steep price hikes.
A deal could be announced as soon as this week if the talks do not fall apart, said the sources, who requested anonymity as the discussions are confidential.