By Alexander Coolidge

Albertsons executives expressed misgivings in internal chats about promises of grocery prices going down and the legality of their proposed $25 billion merger with Kroger, according to an antitrust lawsuit filed Monday by Washington state regulators.

The lawsuit, seeking to stop the merger permanently, came the same day Cincinnati-based Kroger announced a delay to complete the takeover of the Boise, Idaho retailer, citing ongoing discussions with federal and state antitrust regulators. While the companies had hoped to close on the deal early this year, the company released a statement saying it expects the deal to close by Aug. 17.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson blasted the merger proposal in his announcement of legal action, saying it would jeopardize workers’ jobs, reduce competition and lead to higher prices.

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