WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is making a last-ditch effort to prevent Whole Foods Market Inc. from swallowing rival Wild Oats Markets Inc.
The FTC filed court papers in Washington Friday seeking an emergency halt to the sale, set to close as early as Monday, The Washington Post reported.
The FTC asked an appeals court for a delay after U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman cleared the way for the deal Thursday, denying the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction to block the sale for $565 million.
Friedman's ruling was a triumph for the grocery chains, which disputed FTC claims their combination would stifle market competition for natural and organic products, The Post reported Saturday.
At the closing of the market Friday, Whole Foods shares were up 7.6 percent or $3.13, at $44.30 in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading, while Wild Oats soared 18 percent to $17.92, up $2.71 on the Nasdaq.