Rite Aid has mutually agreed with Albertsons Companies to call off the previously announced merger agreement.

As per the terms of the merger agreement, neither Rite Aid nor Albertsons will be responsible for any payments to the other party due to the termination of the agreement.

Rite Aid chairman and chief executive officer John Standley said: “While we believed in the merits of the combination with Albertsons, we have heard the views expressed by our stockholders and are committed to moving forward and executing our strategic plan as a standalone company.

“We remain focused on leveraging our network of conveniently located retail pharmacies, our EnvisionRxOptions PBM and our trusted brand of health and wellness offerings.

“We will continue building momentum for key areas of our business like our innovative Wellness store format, highly successful customer loyalty programme and expanded pharmacy service offerings, as we also enhance our omni-channel and own-brand offerings to strengthen our competitive position and create long-term value for stockholders.”

Due to the latest development, the meeting of Rite Aid’s stockholders, which was to be held yesterday, did not take place.

The $24bn deal announced this February, has faced an unfavourable response from retail investors and top ten shareholder Highfields Capital Management, reported CNBC.com.

“We remain focused on leveraging our network of conveniently located retail pharmacies.”

Advisory firms Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services have also urged investors to vote against the merger in July.

Albertsons was not inclined to negotiate the terms of the transaction, reported CNBC.com.

Albertsons stated in a press release: “After careful consideration of all information available to our board of directors through today, we were unwilling to change the terms of the merger.”

Rite Aid has said that its board of directors is evaluating governance changes at the company in consultation with stockholders.

The company will hold an annual meeting of stockholders on 30 October.