Kroger will pay $24.6 billion to acquire Albertsons.

The combined sales would be close to $210 billion, falling just short of Walmart's U.S. food sales by roughly $10 billion.

To allay antitrust worries of regulators, the combined new business is anticipated to divest 100 to 375 shops. Kroger, based in Cincinnati, will thereafter have more than

4,500 stores and activities in over a dozen new states. Divested retail locations will be spun off into a different business that will be owned by current Albertsons investors.

Together, the two companies now employ over 710,000 staff members and run 4,996 stores, 66 distribution centers, 52 manufacturing facilities, 3,972 pharmacies, 

and 2,015 fuel stations across 48 states and Washington, D.C.Rodney McMullen, the current chairman and CEO of Kroger, will remain in that position for the merged business.

Shares of Albertsons jumped more than 11% after reports of the merger Thursday, while Kroger’s stock dropped about 2%.

One of the largest in recent years in retail, the combined business would have a market value of approximately $47 billion, according to Reuters.

The announcement of the proposed transaction comes as grocery stores are dealing with pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and escalating inflation.