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There is a column in Forbes by Brittain Ladd, described as “a globally recognized thought leader on strategy, M&A, and business,” in which he argues that in the wake of the collapse of its proposed merger with Rite Aid, Albertsons’ best option “is to meet with executives from Alibaba, and discuss Alibaba acquiring Albertsons.”

Ladd explains his rationale this way:

“I don't want to give the impression that Albertsons isn't trying. It did acquire meal-kit company Plated, and it expanded its partnership with Instacart. Albertsons has also created an investment fund to work with emerging grocery technology.

“What I see in Albertsons is a pattern of thinking small when it should be thinking big. Instead of expanding its relationship with Instacart, it would have been more strategic for Albertsons to acquire Instacart—similar to Target's decision to acquire Shipt. Attempting to merge with Rite Aid was a small idea postulated as a big move on behalf of Albertsons.

“The reality of the situation for Albertsons is this: Because of its debt, anemic growth, aging stores and lack of operational execution, few, if any U.S. companies have a desire to acquire or partner with Albertsons … Albertsons must make a big move that will power the trajectory of the company into a direction that enables growth and creates a competitive advantage.”

Ladd acknowledges that such a move could be opposed by the Trump administration, but argues, ”First and foremost, Donald Trump is a businessman. Buying and selling properties isn't something Trump talks about, it's part of who he is. That's why I believe President Trump can be convinced to support an acquisition of Albertsons by Alibaba. The move would increase competition in the U.S., something Trump, economists and certainly consumers believe is a good thing.”
KC's View:
I was sort of thrilled when I read this column, because even after doing this for a lot of years, it is somehow life affirming when a globally recognized thought leader on strategy, M&A, and business writes something two days ago that I wrote four days ago.

(There were some differences in our approach. Ladd provided the Trump perspective. But I gave Alibaba’s headquarters phone number.)

I’m just a pundit. Not a globally recognized thought leader. Then again, as they say, even a broken clock…

I completely agree that Albertsons needs to find ways to make big, disruptive swings as it looks for a path to the future. There is a liner from “My Shot,” a song in “Hamilton,” in which the lead character sings about “thinking past tomorrow.”

That’s what Albertsons has to do.