Thursday, August 23, 2007
The redacted opinion in the Whole Foods/Wild Oats transaction has been released (access it here). I haven't analyzed it thoroughly but at first glance Judge Friedman rests much of his decision on a rejection of the FTC's market definition. Judge Friedman defines the market more broadly than the organic supermarket sector; instead, he groups Whole Foods and Wild Oats together with the many other supermarkets selling natural and organic groceries. On this basis, he finds that "[t]he evidence shows that there are many alternatives to which customers could readily take their business if Whole Foods and Wild Oats merged and Whole Foods imposed," price increases. The case now goes before the D.C. Circuit.