Whole Foods Market Inc. and Wild Oats Market Inc. are disputing the Federal Trade Commission’s plan to stop their merger. Both sides hope to discredit the other’s expert witnesses regarding the $565M merger. Two antitrust expert witnesses testified as to whether the merger would illegally dominate the premium natural- and organic-foods market. Marketwatch.com also writes:
Judge Paul L. Friedman must decide whether to accept the government’s argument that the two companies primarily compete in a narrow market that is distinctly separate from the broader U.S. grocery marketplace. He primarily listened to the questioning, offering few comments that might suggest how he could rule. But the judge did indicate he is searching for the appropriate definition of the marketplace in which Whole Foods and Wild Oats compete. During questioning from FTC attorneys, David Scheffman, an antitrust consultant who testified for the grocery companies, told the court those premium natural-foods stores don’t just compete with each other, as argued by the FTC, but are part of the broader supermarket industry.