Rite Aid's Stock Soars In Active Trade After Deal To Sell Stores Helps Ease Walgreens Merger Concerns

By Tomi Kilgore Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Rite Aid Corp. shot up 6% in active premarket trade Tuesday, after the drug store chain announced a deal with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. to sell 865 Rite Aid stores to Fred's Inc. for $950 million. With volume of about 2.6 million shares, Rite Aid's stock was the most actively traded ahead of the open. Rite Aid, which is in the process of being acquired by Walgreens, said the deal is subject to approval by the Federal Trade Commission. In October, Walgreens and Rite Aid pushed out the deadline to close their $9.4 billion merger to next year, citing delays in selling stores the companies were required to divest to get regulators to approve the merger. Walgreens said it is in talks with the FTC regarding the deal, and is working toward closing its Rite Aid acquisition in early 2017. Walgreens' stock rose 1.4% in premarket trade, while Fred's shares were still inactive. Rite Aid's stock has gained 4.2% year to date through Monday, while Walgreens' shares have tacked on 1.1% and the S&P 500 has gained 11%.

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