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DAILY MEMO

THE — VALLEY — —

Commercial lender opens in Medford

Commercial Credit Corp., a financial services company specializing in personal and home equity loans, has opened a Medford branch at 1030 Biddle Road in the Bear Creek Plaza.

Jerry L. Wilson, office manager, and Peggy Brooks have 12 years' combined experience in the financial field. Wilson holds a degree in finance from the University of Oregon. He and Brooks may be reached at 776-5114.

The company opened in 1912 and is a member of Citigroup Inc., a financial services company formed in 1998 by the merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group Inc.

Women's credit group to hold charity auction

Southern Oregon Women's Access to Credit has scheduled a dinner party and auction for June 5, starting at — p.m. at Del Rio Vineyard in Gold Hill.

The event will raise money for the nonprofit group, which provides business training, mentoring and financing services to women, minorities and rural entrepreneurs.

The group has chosen to celebrate the Rogue Valley's entrepreneurial heritage for this year's event and is working with the Southern Oregon Historical Society to develop the evening's program.

Cost is $50 per person. Call 779-3992 for reservations.

REGION

Kroger-Fred Meyer deal gets approval from FTC

CINCINNATI -- The Federal Trade Commission has approved The Kroger Co.'s acquisition of Portland-based Fred Meyer Inc., creating the nation's largest retail grocery chain, the companies said Thursday.

Kroger will be required to sell eight stores in Arizona, Wyoming and Utah, but will operate some 2,200 stores in 31 states from coast to coast.

Shareholders of both companies approved the merger in April.

Kroger, already the nation's largest grocery, did $28.2 billion in business last year to rank 36th on the Fortune 500 list. Fred Meyer did $14.9 billion in business to rank 104th.

Together they have more than 300,000 employees, 2,200 supermarkets, 800 convenience stores and 381 jewelry stores. Combined sales of $43.1 billion would rank 15th on the Fortune 500 list and account for 10 percent of all U.S. grocery sales.

Fred Meyer will keep its headquarters in Portland, retain its name and operate as a unit of Kroger, which will pay Fred Meyer about $8 billion and assume about $4.8 billion in debt.