Cracked Oats

by Osman Parvez
---- Well, maybe not after all.

It looks like the acquisition of Wild Oats by Whole Foods will be challenged because the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) believes it will reduce competition and quality and drive up prices. According to the Wall Street Journal, "In its investigation, the FTC uncovered evidence that Whole Foods saw the deal as a way simply to eliminate its main rival in dozens of cities, lawyers close to the case said."

Sounds like someone at Whole Foods forwarded an email, doesn't it?

I wrote about the proposed merger February and the post drew some interesting comments. One (Gecko) wrote, "Let's face it, we have no idea in light of the merger whether prices will stay astronomical, or whether they will decrease to relatively affordable levels (finally) at Whole Foods stores." and "All I know is that reduced competition (i.e., fewer genuine natural foods stores) = reduced choice for consumers, which often translates to higher prices for consumers. We shall see..."

Looks like the FTC is seeing things your way Gecko.

From a real estate perspective, there are two projects which could be affected. Prior to the announcement of its acquisition, Wild Oats was planning to occupy a flagship store at 29th Street. Whole Foods meanwhile has a major upgrade planned for it's Boulder store on Pearl. And as for all those local jobs, retail and corporate? We shall see...

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