Retail 22 Feb 2007 07:38 am

Whole Foods/Wild Oats Form Organic Superpower

by Sean Hackbarth

Wild Oats logoWhole Foods logo

Organic foods have gone a long way from being sold in cooperatives near college campuses by ex-hippies. The idea that the industry wouldn’t become as big business as the mainstream food chain had that buried years ago when Whole Foods (WFMI) started raking in billions. Yesterday, the natural-foods chain announced it would buy competitor Wild Oats (OATS) for $565 million. Whole Foods thinks the purchase will get them back on the growth track. Missing analysts’ targets have hurt the stock. With leadership shakeups Wild Oats has been in some turbulence which gave John Mackey’s Whole Foods the opportunity to grow via acquisition. It will take about two years to integrate the Wild Oats stores into the larger Whole Foods.

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