West Coast grocer Haggen Holdings LLC filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, shortly after suing rival grocer Albertsons Cos. over a $300 million deal.

Haggen bought 146 Albertsons locations last year, hoping to grow into a superregional chain. Haggen sued rival grocer Albertsons in federal court Sept. 1, alleging Albertsons engaged in “coordinated and systematic efforts to eliminate competition and Haggen as a viable competitor in over 130 local grocery markets in five states.”

In court papers, Haggen accused Albertsons of destroying the profitability of the stores through a number of tactics, including allegedly misusing confidential data.

Albertsons, which has yet to answer the lawsuit, sold the stores as part of its acquisition of Safeway Inc., a transaction that made it the second largest grocery chain in the U.S. A spokesman for Albertsons couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. The company has called the suit meritless and said it would defend itself in court.

In August, Bellingham, Wash.-based Haggen announced it was closing or selling a number of stores, including many acquired from Albertsons, as part of a “right-sizing strategy.” In a news release issued at the time the closures were announced, Haggen Chief Executive Pacific Southwest Bill Shaner said the company intended “to ensure a stable, healthy company.”

Haggen’s bankruptcy filing is in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. The company is represented by Stroock Stroock Lavan LLP and Young Conaway Stargatt Taylor.

Source: The Wall Street Journal