BOISE — Albertson's Inc. announced on Thursday that it would sell 80 of its Osco Drug stores in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire for $240 million to Maxi Drug Inc., which does business as Brooks Pharmacy.

Subject to government review, the sale is expected to close in January.

Brooks Pharmacy is the oldest drugstore chain in New England, with annual revenues of more than $1 billion. Based in Warwick, R.I., the company has more than 5,000 employees and operates 250 stores in six states.

"The acquisition represents a significant opportunity to enter the important Boston market and to expand our presence in southern New Hampshire," said Michel Coutu, president and chief executive officer of Brooks Pharmacy. "Boston represents an excellent strategic fit, which will complement our existing stores."

Boise-based Albertson's is the nation's second-largest food and drug retailer with annual revenue projected at about $38 billion this year. It has more than 2,500 stores and 232,000 employees nationwide.

Besides Albertson's and Osco Drug, its banners include Jewel-Osco, Acme, Sav-on Drugs, Max Foods, Super Saver and Seessel's by Albertson's.