Court Clears Way for Whole FoodsWild Oats Merger

AUSTIN, Texas and BOULDER, Colo. -- Whole Foods Market, Inc. and Wild Oats Markets, Inc. are now legally permitted to proceed with their merger, thanks to a U.S. Court of Appeals decision to deny the Federal Trade Commission's request to halt the completion of the merger.

The act by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dissolved the Aug. 20 administrative injunction, which blocked the transaction from continuing while the court considered the FTC's motion.

Whole Foods chairman, c.e.o., and co-founder John Mackey, whose negative anonymous Internet postings about Wild Oats created controversy and at one point seemed to threaten to derail the merger, expressed satisfaction that the retailers "have cleared what we expect to be our last legal hurdle."

Whole Foods' tender offer to buy outstanding shares of common stock of Wild Oats expires today at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

The merger was originally announced by the two natural foods chains in February.

Whole Foods operates 197 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and Wild Oats operates 109 natural food stores in 23 states and the Canadian province of British Columbia, Canada under the Wild Oats Marketplace,
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