Keep Austin Weird

Okay, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) thinks no antitrust concerns are rasised by allowing the planet to be served by only one satellite radio company, but allowing the merger of two niche, patchouli-oil-scented grocery store chains is just a groovy bridge too far.

A federal district court ruled last August that Austin’s own bohemian bazaar turned corporate giant, Whole Foods, could acquire rival hippie food purveyor, Wild Oats, without hurting competition.

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit ruled it had had enough of all the free grocery love, reversed the district court, and held that the core customers of each store were “worthy of antitrust protection,” despite their appearance (oh ok, I added that last part).

Because the merger has already gone through in the interim, the likely outcome of the remand–if the court sids with the FTC as expected–is that stores in areas that raise antitrust concerns will likely be divested.

Thx to the Austin Business Journal and the WSJ Law Blog

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