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Merger indigestion

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reverses a district court ruling that denied a Federal Trade Commission injunction against Whole Foods' purchase of Wild Oats Markets. According to the July 29 1decision, the lower court erred in finding the merger could not result in a monopoly in any relevant product market because FTC would never be able to adequately define the "premium, natural and organic supermarkets" sector. The appeals decision says the district court "underestimated" the likelihood in FTC defining the PNOS market. FTC's general counsel July 30 said Whole Foods can seek a rehearing in the D.C. circuit before the same panel or en banc, submit a writ of certiorari to be heard by the Supreme Court or return to the district court to argue the case under the guidelines set in the appeals court decision. No ruling yet has ordered a halt to Whole Foods' $565 million purchase of Wild Oats, which was completed in September 2007 (2"The Tan Sheet" Sept. 3, 2007, In Brief)...
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