Friday, August 24, 2007
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia yesterday denied the FTC's request for an emergency stay halting Whole Food's acquisition of Wild Oats. In a conclusion which does not bode well for the FTC's ultimate case the Court stated that "[a]lthough the FTC raised some questions about the district court's decision, it has failed to make a strong showing that is it likely to prevail on the merits of its appeal . . . ." As a result, Whole Foods will now proceed to close its tender offer on its next expiration date, 5:00 p.m., Eastern time, on Monday, August 27, 2007.
For those keeping score, the FTC's loss comes on the heels of the Justice Department's failure to halt Oracle Corp.’s acquisition of PeopleSoft in 2004, and the FTC's failure to block Western Refining Inc.’s purchase of Giant Industries Inc. earlier this year. The FTC last won an antitrust case in court in 2002, when it stopped Libbey Inc. from buying Anchor Hocking Corp. from Newell Rubbermaid Inc. Now there is food for thought . . . .