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Federal appeals court allows Whole Foods acquisition to proceed

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has refused to block organic food company Whole Foods Market from buying rival grocer Wild Oats Markets [corporate websites]. US District Judge Paul Friedman refused to issue an injunction blocking the acquisition [opinion, PDF] last week, and the US Federal Trade Commission appealed [JURIST report] that decision to the federal appeals court. Earlier this week, the court issued an administrative injunction [JURIST report] putting the takeover on hold while it considered the case, but on Thursday it refused the FTC request for a stay pending appeal [WF press release].

Friedman ruled that the proposed merger did not violate US antitrust laws, rejecting arguments from the Federal Trade Commission [official website] that the merger will limit competition in the organic food market, thereby hurting consumers. Whole Foods, however, has said that it must still compete with traditional food markets that are beginning to offer more organic varieties. Whole Foods' tender offer expires on August 27. AP has more.

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