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    Whole Foods Buys Wild Oats, Finally

    AUSTIN, Texas - It did not come easily, but the merger of Whole Foods Market here with its main rival Wild Oats was essentially consummated yesterday, as the former said that by the close of its takeover offer at 5 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on Monday, the latter company's shareholders had tendered 96.8 percent of outstanding shares for sale at $18.50 each.

    AUSTIN, Texas - It did not come easily, but the merger of Whole Foods Market here with its main rival Wild Oats was essentially consummated yesterday, as the former said that by the close of its takeover offer at 5 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on Monday, the latter company's shareholders had tendered 96.8 percent of outstanding shares for sale at $18.50 each.

    Whole Foods said it would pay Wild Oats shareholders and take control of all those shares over the next three business days.

    As a result of the purchases in the tender offer, Whole Foods said it would own approximately 84.1 percent of the outstanding shares of Wild Oats Markets common stock, effective today, August 28, 2007.

    Whole Foods said Wild Oats Markets will become a wholly owned subsidiary.

    The merger creates a natural foods supermarket chain of unprecedented size and power. Whole Foods had sales of $5.6 billion in fiscal year 2006, and currently operates 197 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

    Wild Oats Markets, Inc., meanwhile, operates 109 stores in 23 states and British Columbia, Canada, with more than $1.2 billion in annual sales.

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