Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

FTC Issues Administrative Complaint Seeking to Block Whole Foods Market’s Acquisition of Wild Oats Markets

On June 28, the FTC issued a complaint challenging Whole Foods Market Inc.’s approximately $670 million acquisition of Wild Oats Markets Inc. under the grounds that this transaction would violate federal antitrust laws by eliminating the substantial competition between these two uniquely close competitors in the operation of premium natural and organic supermarkets nationwide. The FTC contends that if the transaction goes forward Whole Foods would have the ability to raise prices and reduce quality and services.

On June 7, 2007, the judge issued a temporary restraining order under which the parties may not consummate the deal until after a preliminary injunction hearing, which is scheduled for July 31 and August 1, 2007.

The FTC’s vote to issue the complaint was 5-0.

Robert Doyle
(202) 589-1834

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