Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Four Lessons from the Whole Foods Case

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Thom Lambert of the University of Missouri offers Four Lessons from the Whole Foods Case.

ABSTRACT: This article examines the recent district court decision rejecting a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) challenge to the proposed merger of organic grocers Whole Foods and Wild Oats. The article contends that the district court was right to reject the FTC's challenge and identifies four principles that should guide future merger investigations: (1) "hot documents" defining the market, demonstrating apparent motivation, or predicting effects should be ignored; (2) unique distribution channels should not be deemed "markets" unless they significantly reduce transaction costs; (3) merger analysis should better account for business trends and productive efficiencies; and (4) the deck should not be stacked so heavily in the favor of the FTC.

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