Remember when a federal judge allowed the purchase of Wild Oats Markets by Whole Foods Market to go through, despite the Federal Trade Commission's efforts to block the deal? Well, a U.S. appeals court ruled that the judge erred when he turned down the FTC request for an injunction to block the deal. In other words, the case is back in play. To what end is a little unclear, considering that Wild Oats has been taken over and effectively deconstructed with store divestments, closures and re-brandings (the legal system works in mysterious ways). Whole Foods first announced its plan to buy the smaller rival Wild Oats in February 2007. The FTC sued to block the $565 million deal a few months later, saying it would hobble competition in the world of natural and organic groceries. Whole Foods argued that the natural and organic marketplace had expanded to the point where competition was no longer an issue. Here's the Reuters story.
In other Whole Foods news, the OC Register's Nancy Luna posts that the quasi-natural foods chain - nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” because of its steep prices - is taking the low-cost route. Well, sort of. It has its own version of Trader Joe's popular Two Buck Chuck - except that at Whole Foods, it's $3.99. The wine is exclusive to stores in Southern California, Arizona and Southern Nevada.