Topco interested in Wild Oats buy

Topco interested in Wild Oats buy

Illinois-based private-label cooperative Topco Associates is looking to buy the Wild Oats Markets brand from US organics retailer Whole Foods Market.

The Federal Trade Commission said in a filing this week that it was seeking public comments on the application.

The filing also lists California-based food supplier Luberski as a potential buyer.

Whole Foods Market was ordered to sell the Wild Oats brand along with 32 stores after the Federal Trade Commission argued that its 2007 merger with Wild Oats Markets was anti-competitive.

Whole Foods, which had already rebranded some of the Wild Oats stores after the US$565m acquisition, had insisted it competed head on with mainstream grocery chains that sell better-for-you products.

The acquisition had gone through in 2007 but last July a US appeals court reversed the ruling that had cleared the deal - and gave the FTC a fresh attempt to unravel the takeover.

The Commission said it is accepting public comments on the divestiture trustee’s petitions for 30 days, until 12 April.