PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fred Meyer Inc. here said last week it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Smith's Food & Drug Centers, Salt Lake City. The move is designed to reduce costs, increase buying power and strengthen Fred Meyer's balance sheet, company executives said. Fred Meyer said it expects to complete the transaction -- for $720 million in stock equity plus assumption of $1.3 billion in debt -- by late August or September. The combined entity would operate 374 stores in 17 ...

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