Judge Ken Schubert of the King County Superior Court in Washington requested a fuller hearing next week on a $4 billion dividend that Albertsons Cos. ACI, +0.93% is seeking to pay its shareholders, announced when the grocer agreed to combine with Kroger Co. KR, +0.10%.
The hearing is now scheduled to take place Nov. 17 with witnesses from Albertsons and Kroger, and the companies are expected to provide additional documents to Washington state officials, including minutes from board meetings relating to the dividend.
Last week, a state court commissioner temporarily blocked the dividend, which was initially scheduled for Nov. 7. The temporary restraining order is now extended until Nov. 17.
Kroger had no comment. Albertsons said the claim brought by the state of Washington is meritless and provides no legal basis for canceling or postponing the dividend.
The largest and the second-largest supermarket chains agreed to combine in a $20 billion deal in October.