Court rules in favor of Whole Foods/Wild Oats proposed merger; FTC’s injunction denied

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets Thursday announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has denied the Federal Trade Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction related to the proposed merger between the companies.

"The District Court’s ruling affirms our belief that a merger between Whole Foods and Wild Oats is a winning scenario for all stakeholders," said John Mackey, chairman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Whole Foods Market. "We believe the synergies gained from this combination will create long term value for customers, vendors, and shareholders as well as exciting opportunities for team members."

The FTC may choose to appeal the District Court’s ruling and may seek a stay from either the District Court or the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets have agreed with the FTC to not close the merger prior to noon, Eastern time, on Monday, August 20, 2007. Absent a stay pending an FTC appeal, the companies may close the transaction at any point after that time.

"We are very pleased with the court’s ruling and always had confidence that, once presented with the facts, the judge would rule in favor of this merger," said Gregory Mays, chairman and chief executive officer of Wild Oats Markets. "We continue to believe this merger is in the best interest of our stakeholders, as it will mean significant career opportunities for our store associates, capital investment in our stores to enhance the shopping experience for our customers, and value-creation for our shareholders. We look forward to closing the transaction."

On June 7, 2007, the FTC filed a suit in the federal district court to block the proposed acquisition on antitrust grounds and seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction pending a trial on the merits. Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats consented to a temporary restraining order pending a hearing on the preliminary injunction, which concluded on August 1, 2007.

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