LOS ANGELES -- Fore! That's the way the three-way merger among Fred Meyer Inc., Portland, Ore.; Ralphs Grocery Co., Compton, Calif.; and Quality Food Centers, Bellevue, Wash., was apparently initiated -- on a golf course, between two men who don't really play golf. ." But somewhere during that game the idea for last week's merger evolved, Burkle said. QFC was in the midst of negotiating to acquire Hughes Family Markets, Irwindale, Calif., a 57-store southern California chain, "and [Zell] ...

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