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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13735/this-speaks-for-itself/

This Speaks For Itself

August 31, 2010 by

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, interviewed in USA Today:

Q: What’s the result of the Wild Oats merger?

A: The end result is that it’s been great. Our Wild Oats same — store sales were up like 16% in the second quarter.

Q: Would you do that merger again?

A: No. We’ll never do another merger that requires FTC approval. It was the worst experience of Whole Foods’ corporate life. All my e-mails were examined by the FTC. The $30 million in legal fees. … For what? To prove we weren’t a monopoly? Everyone knows we’re not.

That’s a disturbing statement. All mergers are subject to FTC veto. I assume Mackey meant he’ll never do a merger that requires prior notification under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, which is triggered for any deal valued over $63.4 million. Still, it’s a stunning public admission that Whole Foods will limit its growth and business due to the fear of future FTC reprisal.

Mackey also said the FTC “investigated” him after he criticized Barack Obama’s healthcare mandates. Mackey did not elaborate, but he said the investigation was later dropped. (See comment below)

(HT: Nick Gillespie)

{ 7 comments }

Phoenix August 31, 2010 at 9:06 am

A statist might respond by lauding the FTC and stating that the threat of FTC action is the deterrent of monopolies, that this is proof that such an organization is needed to keep the market from producing cartels and oh-so-terrible monopolies.

John Hall August 31, 2010 at 11:39 am

The FTC investigated him for the second part of the question when he commented on rivals using a yahoo account. I don’t think he was investigated over the Obama healthcare plan.

htran August 31, 2010 at 3:40 pm

$30 million in legal fees? What a shakedown.

Rick August 31, 2010 at 11:08 pm

I think Whole Foods is a good store. The people who work at the store near where I live are very friendly. I don’t go for “green” or organic reasons… that stuff is present, but toned down where I live… most of the food I buy there is conventional, or “natural”. I find products there that are unique and encourage food and beverage entrepreneurship… I live in Oregon, so that’s a big thing for small local brewers who make some delicious ales. I don’t mind paying a little extra for that sort of thing. Too bad others might not get the opportunity to have a similar experience because Whole Foods growth has been discouraged by the FTC.

Dave Albin August 31, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Where did they get that ($63.4 million) number? I probably don’t want to know how much money and time was spent on obtaining it. Another random regulation that we just put up with….

Stephen Grossman September 1, 2010 at 8:39 am

>Where did they get that ($63.4 million) number?

Krugman said that $63.5M was excessive after he had a session with his ouija board.

Mitchell Powell September 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm

If you run a google search for “thuggish mistreatment,” this article is the top result. Though yall should know.

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