(Consider this my foodie Friday contribution). When I heard that Whole Foods was trying to buy smaller natural food chain Wild Oats, I was a little disappointed. When we lived in Princeton, NJ a couple of years ago, there was a small, local Wild Oats in walking distance from campus. But while I was there, a huge, new shiny Whole Foods opened a couple of miles away. They didn’t compete much because Wild Oats catered to the walking/biking crowd around campus, and Whole Foods, the suburbanites with cars (I was both). I didn’t want them to close Wild Oats but I thought, worst case scenario, if they close Wild Oats, it means the local Co-op, also walking distance from campus, will do even better. But some of the folks I know who are still in Princeton were quite upset about the prospect.

Now, the Federal Trade Commission is challenging the merger citing, believe it or not, Anti-trust concerns. In a world where Safeway and even Wal-Mart are selling their own brands of organic food, a merger of this scale is in no way an anti-trust violation. An opinion piece by Daniel Gross in Slate explains the issue in great detail. Gross Begins:

The U.S. attorney scandal has raised fears that the Bush administration is misusing the levers of government to punish political opponents. Now I think I’ve uncovered another sinister example of the administration using government lawyers to stick it to liberals. And this time, Bush is aiming for the belly!

Gross goes on to illustrate how the FTC allows huge mergers like that of AT&T and Cingular to occur, but somehow doesn’t want to encourage growth in a more progressive industry.

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Is someone at the FTC a Princeton grad?

2 thoughts on “Is someone at the FTC a Princeton grad?

  • June 9, 2007 at 3:58 am
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    Oh, you missed a big one on there hun… You missed AT&T wireless sold their towers to Cingular (that was the real merger) It was only the wireless that mergerd, but Cingular had bought into BellSouth. About two months ago… oh it is funny… BellSouth was bought by, you guessed it, AT&T.

  • June 24, 2007 at 10:24 pm
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    Amy,
    For the last several years, sales with Oats have gone down (or remained stagnant,) and the value continued to go up; something is amiss. Ask any of the Oats managers who do not buy stock in their own company. (btw, I’m speaking from experience.)
    Oats will put themselves out of business, if they didn’t already. Why do you think Whole Foods built store after store across the street from successful Oats locations? It’s the same thing Lowes does to (“you can do it, we CAN’T help”) Home Depot. The second you walk out the door of Home Depot empty handed and pissed off, and look across the street and see a Lowes under construction, you say to yourself, “never again, Home Depot.”
    Whole Foods will not put Oats out of business. Wild Oats will put themselves out of business. The best thing that can happen, is for Oats to be bought out by WF. That way, everyone wins, customers included.

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