Vegans (and Foodies) Rejoice: D.C. Circuit Rules for FTC in Whole Foods Merger Case


In a two to one decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has given the FTC a major victory for its merger enforcement jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals held that the district court had abused its discretion in ruling against the FTC?s effort to enjoin the merger of Whole Foods Market, Inc. (?Whole Foods?) and Wild Oats Markets, Inc. (?Wild Oats?). In so doing, the D.C. Circuit not only created the very real possibility that Whole Foods may end up having to divest some assets or undertake other actions to cure potential anticompetitive effects from the merger, it also reaffirmed some important principles that apply to mergers in industries involving differentiated products (including most hightechnology industries).

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