Judge Slaps Down FTC's Attempt To Block Whole Foods/Wild Oats Deal

from the buh-zing! dept

When the FTC stepped in to block the merger between Whole Foods and Wild Oats, it seemed like an obvious case of a market being defined too narrowly. Yes, both companies place a similar emphasis on organic foods, but organic foods represent a small slice of the overall food market, and there's no question that organic and conventional foods are substitute goods. The whole situation was roughly analogous to the situation facing XM and Sirius in their attempt to merge, as the NAB would like the FCC to define the market as simply satellite radio, while in fact it's clearly much broader. It looks like the FTC's argument has been thoroughly rejected as a federal judge declared that the merger should not be blocked. The judge's ruling remains sealed, so his exact rationale isn't known, but it sounds like this could be a useful precedent in other cases going forward.

Filed Under: antitrust, ftc
Companies: whole foods, wild oats


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  1. identicon
    TheDock22, 17 Aug 2007 @ 12:28pm

    Re:

    Judges rulings usually remained sealed if there is a merger going on since evidence is gathered independently for both parties which could affect the terms of the merger unfairly for one side or the other. Merger's are not subject to full disclosure terms.

    I agree with the judge. Two organic food giants merging is not going to create a monopoly in the food industry, so why block it? Beside, I don't know anyone who buys organic food. I think the organic food industry is making a good effort to try and compete.

    But, I'm not sure how this relates to technology...

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