FTC Spills Trade Secrets

Redacted portions were actually easily legible
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2007 3:04 PM CDT
A Whole Foods Market in Dallas is shown Monday, July 30, 2007. Whole Foods Market Inc. is expected to release quarterly earnings on Tuesday, July 31, 2007. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – While investigating Whole Foods Market's proposed takeover of competitor Wild Oats, the FTC accidentally released dozens of Whole Foods' trade secrets. The commission filed documents electronically without realizing that redacted portions were actually legible, just shaded. Among the secrets: how Whole Foods negotiates with suppliers to drive up prices at Wal-Mart.

Also in the papers: Tthe company's plans for the merger include closing down as many as 30 Wild Oats stores—which they estimate would increase revenues 85 to 90% at nearby Whole Foods stores. The FTC has been building a case against the $565-million acquisition, which they say would  leave shoppers "unambiguously worse off."