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Published reports say that the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has rejected a call by Whole Foods to revisit its earlier decision that revived efforts by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop the retailer’s $565 million acquisition of Wild Oats – a deal that actually was completed more than a year ago.

What this means is that consideration of the deal goes back to district court, which originally ruled against an FTC request for an injunction that would have stopped the deal before it was completed. Despite the fact that the deal has been finalized and that, in fact, most Wild Oats stores have been converted to the Whole Foods banner, the FTC continues to seek judicial approval of attempts to unravel the acquisition – though it has never been said exactly what such an unraveling would mean and how it would be accomplished.

Whole Foods continues to express public confidence that the FTC efforts will be fruitless. A trial is scheduled to take place next February.

KC's View:
This continues to be one of the dumbest examples of bureaucratic activism that I’ve ever heard of. I don't understand the point, especially because the original rationale for the FTC objections – that Whole Foods would raise its prices because it would have a monopoly in the natural/organics business – seem to be completely moot and irrelevant at this point.

It is worth pointing out that during the past 52 weeks, Whole Foods’ stock price had a high of more than $44 per share. On Friday, it closed at $8.19.

So here’s what probably is going to happen. If the FTC gets its way and manages to get judicial approval to try to unravel the deal, it’ll probably send Whole Foods into bankruptcy. And then, Whole Foods is going to go to the federal government for bailout money.

Just to make the circle complete.