Whole Foods Throws in the Towel — Congrats to the FTC!
The witch hunt is over.
Last evening, the FTC announced that it would drop its antitrust action against high-end grocer Whole Foods in exchange for the chain’s agreement to sell 32 stores and to give up the rights to Wild Oats’ name. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz proclaimed that “[a]s a result of this settlement, American consumers will see more choices and lower prices for organic foods” — you know, those ubiquitous food products that are available at, among other places, Wal-Mart and that the FTC insisted were not the focus of its Whole Foods challenge, which was purportedly aimed at protecting competition in the provision of grocery store formats, not particular types of products. Mr. Leibowitz also announced that the settlement of this surreal antitrust action “allows the FTC to shift resources to other important matters.” Can’t wait to see what those will be.