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Walgreens partners with HHS on dispensing free flu shot vouchers for the uninsured

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — For the fifth consecutive year, Walgreens is offering more than $10 million worth of flu shot vouchers free to those without health insurance coverage and unable to afford a flu shot without the voucher, the chain announced Friday. The United States Department of Health and Human Services is again assisting in the voucher distribution effort to help improve flu immunization rates across the country.
 
Each voucher is good for one flu shot at any Walgreens pharmacy in the United States and Puerto Rico, Duane Reade pharmacies in New York and Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens, and are subject to the terms and conditions on the voucher.
 
“Our ongoing collaboration with HHS has enabled Walgreens to provide free access to flu vaccine to people in need while improving immunization rates in underserved communities across the U.S.,” stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president, pharmacy health and wellness. “This program is one of the ways in which we’re responding to the needs of the communities we serve, and also helping to address the access challenges of our health care system. Following another severe flu season, we aim to help more people get, stay and live well throughout the season with the help of the voucher program.”
 
“Since 2010, more than half a million individuals have received free flu shots and vouchers through this innovative partnership,” commented Nadine Gracia, deputy assistant secretary for minority health and director of the HHS Office of Minority Health. “In the face of persistent disparities in influenza vaccination coverage – especially among adults – this initiative reflects our ongoing commitment to expanding access to important preventive services for our most vulnerable and underserved communities.”
 
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Kroger’s growth trajectory creating demand for 20,000 new positions

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Friday announced that its family of stores is hiring to fill an estimated 20,000 permanent positions in its supermarket divisions.

"Kroger's growth trajectory creates more job opportunities for current and future employees," stated Katy Barclay, Kroger's SVP human resources.  "Right now in our stores across the country we have openings for bright, hard-working associates who are passionate about making a difference for customers every day."
 
Over the last six years, Kroger has created more than 40,000 new jobs. This figure does not include jobs created as a result of capital investment, such as temporary construction jobs, nor does it include Harris Teeter's approximately 25,000 associates who joined the Kroger family earlier this year. 
 
Kroger has hired more than 22,500 veterans since 2009.  In addition, Kroger is proud to have helped the "100,000 Jobs Mission" surpass its original goal in January 2014, seven years early. The "100,000 Jobs Mission" is a coalition of more than 130 companies with the common goal of hiring more than 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020.
 

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Dollar Tree, Family Dollar amend merger agreement: Dollar Tree will divest as many stores as necessary

BY Michael Johnsen

 

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Following Family Dollar's rejection of Dollar General's latest merger offer, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar on Friday announced that the two companies have amended their merger agreement to include a commitment by Dollar Tree to divest as many stores as necessary or advisable to obtain antitrust clearance for the previously announced cash and stock transaction. 
 
All other terms and conditions of the merger agreement remain the same as announced on July 28, 2014.
 
"Dollar Tree is committed to working hard to complete our acquisition of Family Dollar as quickly as possible. Our amended agreement is clearly superior to Dollar General's revised proposal based on antitrust risk, deal certainty and time value of money," stated Bob Sasser, Dollar Tree CEO. "Unlike Dollar General, we expect to be required to divest few, if any, stores because our business model is significantly different from Family Dollar's model. Our product assortment and pricing is not driven by local competition, and we have very limited store overlap."
 
The two companies also announced today that their expectations for a closing date for the transaction have accelerated to as early as the end of November 2014.
 
Lastly, the two companies disclosed that they expect the Federal Trade Commission to issue a "second request" for additional information on Sept. 8, 2014. The "second request" was expected and the companies are confident that regulatory approval will be obtained.
 
Under the terms of the agreement announced on July 28, 2014, Family Dollar shareholders will receive $59.60 in cash and $14.90 equivalent in Dollar Tree shares for each common share of Family Dollar owned, subject to a collar. At closing, Family Dollar shareholders would own no less than 12.7% and no more than 15.1% of the outstanding common stock of Dollar Tree.
 
J.P. Morgan Securities is acting as exclusive financial advisor to the board of directors of Dollar Tree, and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, Bank of America, Royal Bank of Canada and U.S. Bank, National Association, and certain of their affiliates have committed to provide financing for the transaction. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Williams Mullen are acting as legal counsel to Dollar Tree in connection with the transaction. Morgan Stanley & Co. is acting as exclusive financial advisor to the board of directors of Family Dollar in connection with the transaction. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is serving as legal counsel to Family Dollar.

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