Wild Oats Buyout Rumors Boost Stock

BOULDER, Colo. - Persistent rumors that Kroger Co. has its eyes set on acquiring Wild Oats Markets here caused the natural foods retailer's stock to jump 21 percent on Tuesday, before settling at $12.70 and a modest 8.2 percent gain.

The rumors were fueled after industry watchers learned that Wild Oats c.e.o. Perry Odak and c.f.o. Ed Dunlap canceled an investor meeting this week for what a company spokeswoman described as "a more important meeting." In addition, Odak has put his $2 million house on the market. Wild Oats said Odak put the house on the market several months ago because he wants a smaller place, since his wife lives in Pennsylvania and he commutes there on weekends.

Officials at Kroger declined comment on the rumors.
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