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Longs to settle CVS-related suits

BY Antoinette Alexander

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. Longs Drug Stores announced on Wednesday that it has agreed to settle class action lawsuits related to the pending acquisition by CVS Caremark.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Longs has agreed to provide additional disclosures in its solicitation/recommendation statement. Finalization of the proposed settlement remains subject to several conditions, including court approval.

As previously reported, the regulatory waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act has expired, satisfying a condition to the closing of the deal. The waiting period expired Sept. 5.

Under the planned acquisition, CVS Caremark will buy for $2.9 billion, including debt, Longs Drug Stores’ 521 retail locations in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona, as well as its PBM services.

Longs owns the real estate associated with approximately 200 store locations, three distribution centers and three office facilities. CVS Caremark has “conservatively” valued the store locations alone at more than $1 billion.

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Rite Aid to stock digital TV converters for government mandated transition

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid announced Tuesday it would stock digital TV converter boxes in all Rite Aid stores through March 2009 to help customers with the transition to digital format television.

When plugged into an analog TV, the digital converter boxes will enable the TV to continue to work after the government-mandated transition takes place Feb. 17. Three different brands of digital converter boxes will be available at Rite Aid, ranging in price from $59.99-$69.99. Selections may vary by store.

“At Rite Aid our goal is to provide our customers with the products and services they need to make their lives easier,” stated Bryan Shirtliff, Rite Aid senior vice president, category management. “Customers can purchase a digital converter box at any of our stores and immediately begin enjoying the benefits of digital broadcasting, avoiding not only the last-minute scramble to do so next year but any disruption to their viewing habits once the switch takes place next year.”

Beginning at midnight on Feb. 17, all television broadcast signals in the United States will change to a 100 percent digital format as mandated by the federal government. Analog television sets receiving free TV using an antenna will not work after this date. Viewers who are not connected to a cable or satellite service must either purchase a digital converter box to use with their current TV; connect their analog TV to a cable, satellite or other pay service; or purchase a TV with a digital tuner.

The U.S. government is providing up to two $40 coupons per household to offset the cost of the digital converter boxes, through March 31, while supplies last. Each coupon can be applied to the purchase of one digital converter box. These coupons are issued to qualified consumers through applications submitted directly to the government. The coupons must be redeemed within 90 days of receiving them. To apply for the coupons, consumers can visit www.dtv2009.gov or call 1-888-DTV-2009. The coupons can be redeemed at all Rite Aid stores.

An estimated 30 million households and as many as 90 million television sets will be affected by this change. The switch to digital will free up airways for other use.

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Cub Foods initiates program to teach diabetic customers healthy eating

BY Alaric DeArment

STILLWATER, Minn. Cub Foods is offering free, two-hour programs to teach customers about eating healthy with diabetes at some of its stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ilinois through November, the company announced Monday.

The programs will feature 90-minute walking tours through the food aisles to teach participants how to read food labels and understand the importance of nutrition.

“Learning that you have diabetes can be overwhelming,” Cub diabetes care pharmacist Doug White said. “We can show customers how to manage their diabetes by eating the right foods and taking their medications properly.”

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