US regulators have agreed to a request from Whole Foods Market to suspend their case against the organics retailer for five days to pursue settlement talks.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday (29 January) granted Whole Foods' desire for a pause in the case, which is examining the retailer's 2007 acquisition of rival Wild Oats Markets.

Last week, an appeals court turned down a request from Whole Foods to delay an FTC trial into the US$565m deal. The trial has been slated to start on 6 April.

However, the two sides have struck a deal to hold off the case for a brief period. The FTC said it would "withdraw this matter from adjudication for five business days".

The FTC and Whole Foods have been embroiled in legal battles for over a year over the acquisition of Wild Oats.

The FTC believes the deal is anti-competitive. Whole Foods, which has already rebranded some of the Wild Oats stores, insists it competes head on with mainstream grocery chains that sell better-for-you products.