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Whole Foods, Wild Oats Deal Gets Go-Ahead

An appeals court rejects the FTC's request for a stay of the deal.
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A federal appeals court has reportedly denied the Federal Trade Commission's request to halt

Whole Foods'

(WFMI)

purchase of

Wild Oats

(OATS)

, clearing the way for the natural-foods chains to combine.

According to the

Associated Press

, a three-judge panel in Washington denied the government's request for an emergency stay of the $565 million deal. Last week, a federal court judge ruled against the FTC, rejecting claims that the merger would hurt competition and result in price hikes in the organic-food space.

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The FTC had sought to temporarily block the deal from closing after the legal setback. The

AP

reported, however, that the appeals court said Thursday that the agency couldn't prove that the judge's decision was flawed.

Whole Foods and Wild Oats had argued that grocers such as

Kroger

(KR) - Get Kroger Co. (KR) Report

and

Safeway

(SWY)

have a significant presence in natural foods, diminishing worries of a monopoly.

Both companies have previously said they would move to quickly close the deal.