FTC Taking Closer Look at Whole Foods/Wild Oats Deal

BOULDER, Colo. and AUSTIN, Texas - Natural and organic foods retailers Wild Oats Markets, Inc. and Whole Foods Market said yesterday they'd received a second request from the Federal Trade Commission in connection with Whole Foods' offer to buy Wild Oats.

In two SEC filings filed separately, the supernatural grocers said they intend to cooperate with the FTC. The new request effectively extends the waiting period imposed by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 until 10 days after the retailers have complied, unless extended voluntarily by both parties or terminated earlier by the FTC.

Whole Foods Market said in February that it agreed to buy Wild Oats Markets' outstanding common stock in a cash tender offer of $18.50 a share, or about $565 million based on fully diluted shares, in a deal that would merge the nation's two biggest natural foods supermarket chains.
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