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Will They Merge?

Whole Foods is trying to buy Wild Oats, but the FTC is looking at preventing the merger because it might limit competition. The idea is that it would limit the options for organic foods.

I know my mother would prefer they not merge. She doesn’t like Whole Foods, and is concerned about how that would impact the Henry’s (owned by Wild Oats) in her area. I’m less concerned.

The director of the F.T.C.’s Bureau of Competition, Jeffrey Schmidt, said in a statement: “Whole Foods and Wild Oats are each other’s closest competitors in premium natural and organic supermarkets, and are engaged in intense head-to-head competition in markets across the country. If Whole Foods is allowed to devour Wild Oats, it will mean higher prices, reduced quality and fewer choices for consumers.”

Honestly, this surprises me. Since seeing AT&T get back together it’s hard to picture why this is worse. But at the same time I can kind of see their point. There aren’t a lot of options for organic produce. I discount what regular grocery stores offer because frankly, it’s not that much. Not exactly competition for stores more focused on organic.

I have very mixed feelings about this. I like the prices at the Henry’s in my area. Love the selection. So I get the concern about how competition will be impacted, although the only Whole Foods I know of in my area is at least a 30-45 minute drive away.

Guess we’ll just have to see how things go.

Technorati Tags: whole foods, wild oats, merger, organic

One Response to Will They Merge?

  1. Funny how Google and Yahoo and MSN can gooble up any business they want, AT&T can become the only telephone company in town, but we need to regulate the organic food industry. What is wrong with this picture?