Monday, August 11, 2008

FTC Plans Whole Food-Wild Oats Merger Hearings

" WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is moving forward with plans to hold full administrative hearings on the 2007 merger between Whole Foods Markets Inc. (WFMI) and Wild Oats Markets Inc.

The commission's plans, announced in an order released Friday, come two weeks after a federal appeals court revived the FTC's antitrust challenge to the $565 million transaction.

The commission has argued the merger would lessen competition in the market for natural and organic foods.

Whole Foods and Wild Oats consummated their merger last August after a federal judge rejected the FTC's preliminary bid to block the deal.

The commission, however, has continued to press its case, leaving open the possibility that it could try to halt further integration of the two companies or require Whole Foods to sell some operations."

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