FTC Seeks Public Comments on Two More Proposed Whole Foods Divestitures

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comments on two additional applications filed this week by the Divestiture Trustee to divest assets under the Commission’s March 5, 2009 order, which was designed to help restore the competition lost by Whole Foods Market Inc.’s 2007 acquisition of Wild Oats Market, Inc. The Trustee’s applications propose to sell the Wild Oats brand name, as well as other intellectual property.

Under that 2009 order, the Commission appointed The Food Partners as the Divestiture Trustee to divest certain Wild Oats stores and the intellectual property associated with the Wild Oats brand, including the use of the Wild Oats name. The Divestiture Trustee is now requesting FTC approval to sell Wild Oats’ intellectual property to Topco Associates LLC or Luberski, Inc., and to sell Alfalfa’s Markets’ intellectual property to Topco. Alfalfa’s is a chain that Wild Oats previously bought but did not re-brand as Wild Oats.

The Divestiture Trustee recently requested FTC approval to sell the former Wild Oats stores in Kansas City, Missouri; Boulder, Colorado; and Portland, Maine. (see press releases at: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/03/wholefoods.shtm and http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/03/wholefoods2.shtm).

The Commission is accepting public comments on the Divestiture Trustee’s petitions for 30 days, until April 12, 2010. Written comments should be sent to: FTC Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Copies of the petitions can be found on the FTC’s Web site and as a link to this press release. Comments can be submitted at the following link: https://public.commentworks.com/ftc/wholefoodspet3/. (FTC Docket No. 9324; the staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526; see press release dated March 6, 2009, at: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/03/wholefoods.shtm.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

(FYI 11.2010.wpd)

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