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Feds move to block Wild Oats takeover

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Market proximity of two major natural/organic food industry competitors prompts FTC to move against the proposed $670 mil. acquisition of Wild Oats Markets by Whole Foods Market. The June 6 complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunctive relief blocking the deal pending an administrative trial. FTC is concerned the merger will result in higher prices and reduced quality and services, the commission says. "While we disagree with the FTC's position and believe it is without legal and factual merit, we are confident that, once presented with the facts, the court will agree that this merger is pro-competitive and the FTC's application for injunction is denied," Wild Oats Chairman and CEO Greg Mays states. The companies announced plans Feb. 21 to merge both entities in an agreement under which Whole Food acquires 110 stores via the buyout of Wild Oats (1"The Tan Sheet" Feb. 26, 2007, In Brief)...

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