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By Jacob Rund
A Rite Aid Corp. stockholder is suing the pharmacy chain for access to internal records in an effort to unearth evidence of mismanagement or self-dealing surrounding a pending sale to Albertsons Companies Inc.
The investor, Thomas J. Evankovich, filed a complaint June 29 in Delaware Chancery Court that claims the $3.1 billion transaction “appears to have been driven by the self-interests” of Rite Aid’s officers and directors. It’s the second lawsuit over the Albertsons deal to surface in Delaware state court since April 24.
Evankovich, according to the complaint, “seeks inspection to ascertain the truth of what happened during the sales process, and why.” He also seeks “to learn the truth about the management projections and financial analyses on which the board rested its recommendation for approval of the merger.”
A Rite Aid spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shareholders often use “books and records” complaints as launchpads for future lawsuits against a company’s directors. Delaware has set a relatively low bar for investors to gain access to requested company records, but settlements in these cases are common.
Rite Aid stockholders, under the terms of the sale agreed to in February, are able to exchange 10 shares for either one share of Albertsons stock and $1.83 in cash, or 1.079 shares of Albertsons stock.
The deal would give Albertsons, a privately held grocery chain, control of the remaining Rite Aid stores not purchased by Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. last year. U.S. antitrust regulators cleared the transaction in March, but Rite Aid shareholders will need to approve it through a vote scheduled for August 9.
The case is Evankovich v. Rite Aid Corp. , Del. Ch., No. 2018-0471, complaint filed 6/29/18 .
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