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Whole Foods Resubmits Petition Against FTC Decision

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Austin, Texas Whole Foods Market Inc. said it resubmitted its petition against the Federal Trade Commission in a Washington, D.C. appeals court so a decision related to its acquisition of Wild Oats Markets Inc. could be made faster.

“Whole Foods Market is interested in getting to the merits of this case as quickly as possible rather than spending everyone's valuable time and resources arguing about jurisdiction," Jim Sud, executive VP, growth and business development, Whole Foods Market, said in a statement late Thursday.

The grocer sued the FTC last month, claiming the regulator violated its due process rights in a dispute over its acquisition of rival Wild Oats Markets.

Whole Foods Market purchased Wild Oats Markets in 2007 for $565 million. But the acquisition has been in a legal limbo since then due to an antitrust challenge.

The FTC thought the deal could create a natural-food monopoly, but federal judges determined the acquisition could move forward. However, more than a year later, an appeals court decision threw it all back into question.

The FTC is conducting administrative proceedings in the case that are scheduled to go to trial in April. The proceedings are intended to be an impartial inquiry into whether a deal violates antitrust laws.

Whole Foods Market said that it voluntarily withdrew its case from the district court and refiled it with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The chain is asking the court to stop the FTC from conducting a trial because it claims the regulator is already biased against Whole Foods Market and will not give the company enough time to get ready for the administrative trial.

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