The company needs documents from its competitors in order to prove that it did not create a monopoly in the markets at question. There are 29 markets that it is defending. John Mackey, co-founder 7 CEO, has sent letters to 93 competitors in those markets asking them to provide the necessary paperwork required for Whole Foods to defend itself. Obviously the competitors don’t want to give away confidential information, so Whole Foods has pledged that no Whole Foods employee, including inside council, will see the information – only outside council. Anyone who leaks information could be held in contempt of court; Whole Foods is asking that this include the FTC. Many competitors are already complying to the request, but WF will take the issue to court and move to compel if required. WF is not disclosing the list of competitive companies, but they consist of chains and independent retailers.
The FTC is still saying that the merger is not complete and asking the court to reverse the merger even before the court date. WF indicates that the merger is complete except for signage changes at about a ½ dozen stores that have been delayed by municipal signage laws.