Even crunchy granola types may be monopolists at heart—at least according to the Federal Trade Commission.The FTC said yesterday it wants to block Whole Foods’ $670 million purchase of Wild Oats Markets, claiming that the sale will result in even higher-than-usual prices at the natural foods stores.
Industry insiders say the FTC is ignoring strong competition from other large retailers, including Wal-Mart and Costco, that have hopped on the organic bandwagon. The merger would give Whole Foods control of only 11% of the market for natural foods. “I don’t see how these two could have a monopoly,” said one consultant. (Read more Whole Foods stories.)