Friday, August 17, 2007

Judge Rules Wild Oats Can Be Rolled

Federal Judge Paul Friedman ruled yesterday that the $565 million Whole Oats/Wild Foods all-natural corporate commingling can move ahead as planned. Hopefully the IT staff at 6th and Lamar duly disabled John Mackey's message board access well in advance of the ruling.

The Federal Trade Commission, which tried to block the merger on antitrust concerns, is expected to appeal. Whole Foods Market has already announced plans to sell off Wild Oats' Sun Harvest stores to a private equity concern.

In non-redacted FTC court documents erroneously released to the press earlier this week, it was also revealed that Whole Foods negotiates agreements with suppliers that prohibit them from selling to Wal-Mart and that the Austin-based company is considering closing 30 or more Wild Oats stores to boost revenue at nearby Whole Foods stores.

If I were Trader Joe's, I'd see this merger as a tremendous growth opportunity. While TJ's officially denies plans to move into Austin, rumors persist.

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