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Wed, Aug 29, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Whole Foods says purchase of Wild Oats successful

TAKEOVER Whole Foods has garnered enough shares from its tender offer despite opposition from a trade commission and consumer groups


Whole Foods Market Inc said it had support from enough shareholders of Wild Oats Markets Inc to complete the purchase of its rival, putting a successful end to a takeover opposed by US federal antitrust regulators.

Whole Foods said on Monday it would own 84.1 percent of the outstanding shares of Wild Oats after its tender offer of US$18.5 per share closed on Monday, and another 12.7 percent were subject to guaranteed delivery over the next three days.


The company said that 25.2 million shares of Wild Oats were tendered and not withdrawn and another 3.8 million shares were subject to guaranteed delivery.

After purchasing the shares guaranteed for delivery, Whole Foods said it would acquire all the remaining outstanding Wild Oats shares.


Austin-based Whole Foods announced its US$565 million offer for Wild Oats in February, but the Federal Trade Commission and some consumer groups opposed the deal, arguing it would result in lower competition and higher prices for premium groceries.

The commission filed a lawsuit in June to block the takeover and succeeded in delaying it for several weeks, forcing Whole Foods to extend its tender offer several times.


However, last week, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals in Washington denied a commission request to delay the sale while regulators appealed a lower court ruling.

The appeals court said the commission had ``raised some questions'' about the deal but failed to show that it would be successful in overturning the decision of the lower court.

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