Whole Foods offers settlement to FTC
This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet
The supermarket chain has proposed a consent agreement to the Federal Trade Commission to settle the antitrust case against Whole Foods' 2007 acquisition of Wild Oats Markets. FTC reports Jan. 29 that it is withdrawing the matter from adjudication to consider the proposed settlement until Feb. 5, when the agency will announce whether it will proceed with an administrative trial scheduled for April 6. FTC and Whole Foods declined to disclose details of the non-public settlement offer. On Jan. 15, Whole Foods re-filed a complaint in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit charging that FTC's administrative trial deprives the Austin, Texas-based company of its due process and equal protection rights (1"The Tan Sheet" Dec. 15, 2008, In Brief)
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High-end grocery store chain Whole Foods Market will sell 32 of the stores it acquired when it bough its former competitor Wild Oats in 2007 and will divest related assets, according to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The 1agreement resolves allegations the chain's acquisition of Wild Oats stores was anticompetitive, FTC announces March 6 (2"The Tan Sheet" Feb. 2, 2009, In Brief)
The supermarket chain seeks an injunction in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Federal Trade Commission for attempting to deprive the company of its due process rights, Whole Foods says Dec. 8. Whole Foods contends FTC prejudged the company's merger with Wild Oats Markets and, after an appeals court overturned a lower court's denial of an injunction the commission sought against the merger, scheduled an administrative trial for Feb. 16 that forces Whole Foods to "defend itself in 29 separate geographic jurisdictions in a merger that was not anti-competitive," says Lanny Davis, attorney for the Austin, Texas-based chain. Co-founder and CEO John Mackey says consumers already benefit from the September 2007 merger with lower prices and higher quality. Whole Foods argues an unbiased federal judge should hear the case rather than FTC commissioners. An appeals court recently rejected the company's request for a rehearing en banc (1"The Tan Sheet" Dec. 1, 2008, In Brief)
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