Mario Tama/Getty Images News Update 9:35pm: Adds Albertsons comment. Albertsons Cos. (NYSE:ACI) can pay a $4 billion dividend announced in conjunction with its plans to merge with Kroger (NYSE:KR) after a Washington state Supreme Court denied a request to review a ruling that allowed payment of the dividend. Albertsons rose 3.2% in after hours trading. The Washington Supreme Court held a special en banc conference to review the motions on Tuesday and a majority denied both motions, according to a court opinion. With Supreme Court case concluded, the extension of the temporary restraining was officially terminated. Albertsons (ACI) will immediately begin the process of paying the special dividend and amounts will be distributed as soon as practicable to stockholders of record as of the close of business on Oct. 24, the supermarket chain said in a statement late Tuesday. A Washington state judge last month denied a preliminary injunction that prevented Albertsons (ACI) from paying the dividend .A Washington state judge granted a temporary restraining in November that blocked payment of Albertsons (ACI) $6.85/share special dividend that was supposed to be paid on Nov. 7. The suit in Washington accused the two companies of violating antitrust and consumer protection laws. “We are disappointed to see a ruling that favors a small number of ultra-wealthy shareholders over the many thousands of essential workers and millions of Americans who will be left to suffer the consequences of the outright financial looting of Albertsons,” UFCW local unions said in a statement emailed to Seeking Alpha on Tuesday evening. A judge in Washington, D.C. in November also ruled that Albertsons (ACI) can proceed with paying the special dividend. US District Judge Carl Nichols denied the request made by attorneys general in California, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. to block the dividend temporarily. Last month Earlier this month, Kroger (KR) received a request from the Federal Trade Commission for additional information in regard to its planned $24.6 billion purchase of rival supermarket chain Albertsons.
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