• Add Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) to the list of national lawmakers urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to block Kroger's proposed $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons.
"“Specifically, I am concerned that the proposed merger, if approved, will result in fewer pharmacy options for Oregonians, fewer economic opportunities for Oregon’s small farmers, and harm to Oregon’s workers and consumers,” Wyden wrote in the letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan. “The Oregon Health Authority undertook a preliminary review of the impact of the proposed merger on health care and found that the proposed merger would result in a harmful concentration of retail pharmacies in the state.”
• The Wall Street Journal reports that Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan is saying that "protesters vandalizing its stores over the Israel-Hamas war have the wrong impression of the company and its beliefs."
In an annual letter to employees, Narasimhan "addressed controversies surrounding the coffee chain since the war broke out in October. The letter seeks to remove the company from the controversy caused in part by comments seen as pro-Palestinian by the workers’ union.
"'Many of our stores have experienced incidents of vandalism. We see protestors influenced by misrepresentation on social media of what we stand for. We have worked with local authorities to ensure our partners and customers are safe,' Narasimhan said in the letter.
The story notes that "after the war broke out in early October, Starbucks Workers United and local affiliates of the union organizing some of the chain’s U.S. stores expressed support for Palestinians in social-media posts online. The posts, many now deleted, prompted calls from some Jewish leaders to boycott Starbucks as a whole … Starbucks has since sought to clarify its own position, saying it disagrees with the views expressed by Workers United and that it condemns acts of terrorism and violence."