Whole Foods, Wild Oats merger receives green light

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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AUSTIN, TEXAS — Whole Foods Market, Inc. and Wild Oats Markets, Inc. have been legally cleared to go ahead with their merger.

"We are pleased to have cleared what we expect to be our last legal hurdle," said John Mackey, chairman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Whole Foods Market. "We look forward to closing this merger and believe the synergies gained from this combination will create long-term value for our customers, vendors and shareholders as well as exciting opportunities for our new and existing team members."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has denied the F.T.C.’s request for a stay to preclude the closing of the merger pending the F.T.C.’s appeal. In addition, the court has dissolved the Aug. 20 administrative injunction that prevented the transaction from moving forward when the court was considering the F.T.C.’s motion.

Whole Foods’ tender offer to purchase outstanding shares of Wild Oats common stock expires Aug. 27.

The two companies entered a merger agreement on Feb. 21, and on June 6 the F.T.C. filed a suit in the federal district court to block the acquisition, citing antitrust issues. In addition, the F.T.C. sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction pending trial, which concluded Aug. 1. On Aug. 16, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the F.T.C.’s motion for a preliminary injunction. On Aug. 17, the F.T.C. filed with the District Court a motion for a stay pending appeal, which was denied the same day. The F.T.C. also filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for a stay pending appeal of the District Court’s order. On Aug. 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an administrative injunction preventing the transaction from moving forward to allow the court to review the F.T.C.’s motion.

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