Whole Foods finally acquires Wild Oats after prolonged legal challenge

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods Market has acquired Wild Oats Markets for $565 million after the Federal Trade Commission failed to block the transaction on concerns that it would reduce competition, Bloomberg reported.

About 97 percent of investors have tendered their shares in favor of the deal, including 84 percent delivered by the end of the day yesterday, Austin-based Whole Foods said in a statement. Completion of the transaction will occur today, spokeswoman Kate Lowery said yesterday in an interview.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman on Aug. 16 denied the FTC’s bid to block the acquisition, saying it did not not violate any antitrust laws. An appeals court last week upheld the judge’s decision, refusing the government’s request that the decision be put on hold.

Whole Foods agreed to buy Wild Oats in February for $18.50 per share. The FTC sued to block the transaction in June, claiming consumers would be hurt by higher prices and decreased competition.

Whole Foods extended the date of its tender offer to Wild Oats shareholders several times, most recently to yesterday, as the company waited for regulatory and legal permission to complete the offer.

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