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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Whole Foods/Wild Oats Consolidation

Whole Foods Market, Inc. (WFMI) saw its shares rebound today after it surprised investors yesterday by announcing a proposed $565 million merger with Wild Oats Markets (OATS), a similar though much smaller chain. The acquisition news comes as Whole Foods posted a decline in fiscal first-quarter profit. Whole Foods has made 18 previous acquisitions, including Fresh Fields and Bread & Circus. Wild Oats is the biggest acquisition yet for Whole Foods. Started in Boulder, Colo., in 1987, it has 110 stores in 24 states and in British Columbia and $1.2 billion in annual sales. By contrast, Whole Foods, which was started in 1980 in Austin, Tex., has 193 stores in the United States, Canada and Britain and had sales of $5.6 billion in 2006. Investors predict the companies will save money by eliminating corporate duplication and that Whole Foods would gain access to markets where it is now weak, particularly the Pacific Northwest, the Rocky Mountain region and Florida.

posted by CASFS 2006 @ 11:29 AM

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