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)