"We are excited to partner with Kroger to deliver specialty pharmacy services to their customers," said Mark Montgomery, Axium's president and chief executive officer. "We believe this relationship will create efficiencies that will reduce costs, drive growth and improve the overall quality of our combined healthcare services."Mr. Montgomery will continue to lead Axium. He has been with the company for nine years, the last six as president and CEO. With more than 25 years of healthcare leadership experience, he has held instrumental management roles with multiple leading nationwide specialty pharmacy providers. "We are very excited to welcome Axium's leadership team and all 160 current associates to the Kroger family," said Mr. Lutz. "Mark and the team have built a great company that is positioned for growth." The transaction is contingent on typical conditions of closing, including any required approval of regulatory authorities. Edge Healthcare Partners, LLC served as Axium's financial advisor for the pending merger. Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs more than 339,000 associates who serve customers in 2,425 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 788 convenience stores, 342 fine jewelry stores, 1,124 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S. Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 160 million meals a year through more than 80 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's Million Dollar Club. SOURCE The Kroger Co.