Whole Foods has again pushed back the deadline for its tender offer for Wild Oats shares as the Federal Trade Commission continues to raise questions concerning antitrust issues.

The US-based natural and organic foods retailer has had to again push back the deadline for the share offer to 20 June. Last month, Whole Foods had set the deadline for 22 May, a cut-off date, which passed yesterday.

“Although the FTC has not yet decided whether to challenge the Wild Oats transaction, members of the FTC staff have voiced concerns regarding perceived anticompetitive effects resulting from the proposed tender offer and merger,” the Austin-based natural and organic retailer said.

The merger agreement would see Whole Foods pay US$18.50 a share for Wild Oats. Whole Foods also will assume Wild Oats debt, which amounted to $106m as of 30 September last year.

As of 21 May, a total of 20.9m shares of Wild Oats stock, or about 70.1% of the outstanding shares, have been tendered.

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