A judge has ruled in favor of the Whole Foods/Wild Oats merger, but the FTC has announced they will appeal the decision and are asking that the merger be blocked pending that appeal.
Clifford Aronson, an attorney for Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats, read Friedman’s decision and said the judge rejected the government’s argument that the two chains competed mostly with each other, rather than conventional supermarkets, and could raise prices if they combined.
Aronson also said that Friedman made no mention of one notorious aspect of the case: Whole Foods chief executive John Mackey was revealed to have trashed Wild Oats and touted Whole Foods on Internet message boards under a pseudonym. Federal securities regulators are looking into the postings.
The Whole Foods decision is the latest in a series of losses for the federal government on antitrust cases.
Good news for Whole Foods CEO John “Anonymous Troll” Mackey, but is it good news for consumers? We find it hard to imagine a world where Whole Foods is more expensive than it already is. If Whole Foods gets any pricier, it’s going to turn into one of those stores that has a doorbell.
FTC appeals ruling allowing Whole Foods to buy Wild Oats [USAToday]