Whole Foods Market extends tender offer

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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AUSTIN, TEXAS — Whole Foods Market Inc. is extending its tender offer to purchase outstanding shares of Wild Oats Markets Inc. The new deadline is June 20.

On Feb. 21, Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets announced a definitive merger agreement through which Whole Foods would acquire Wild Oats’ outstanding common stock in a cash tender offer of $18.50 per share. Whole Foods also will assume Wild Oats’ existing net debt — a sum that was about $106 million on Sept. 30, 2006.

Whole Foods plans to fund the transaction with $700 million in new senior term loan facilities, and the company expects to expand its existing long-term senior revolving credit facility to $250 million.

The tender offer has previously been extended — on March 21, the company announced it was extending the offer to April 24. On April 24 the company announced it was again extending the offer to May 22. The offer is conditioned with the majority of Wild Oats’ outstanding shares being tendered. To this end, Wild Oats’ largest shareholder — Yucaipa Companies with 18% ownership — has committed to tendering shares.

As of May 21, 20,956,505 shares of Wild Oats’ common stock had been tendered, which is 70% of the 29,882,910 shares that remained outstanding on April 27.

The Federal Trade Commission is considering challenging the acquisition, citing concerns of anticompetitive effects, but has not decided whether it will do so.

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