Organic and natural foods grocer Whole Foods Market Inc. said late on Tuesday it is investigating the release of proprietary business information by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which it claimed violated a court confidentiality order.
The probe comes after the FTC filed information electronically that revealed information that Whole Foods said was not meant to be made public.
Whole Foods, which earlier this year launched a takeover bid for rival natural foods grocer Wild Oats Markets Inc., would close 30 or more Wild Oats stores that compete with its own locations if its takeover bid is successful, according to a report by the Associated Press based on a review of the FTC filing.
Whole Foods in a statement said it will not have sufficient information including store level financial statements to make any final decisions regarding future operations until the merger is completed.
The FTC has asked a federal judge for a temporary injunction to stop the $565 million deal. Regulators are concerned that the Whole Foods merger with Wild Oats could drive up prices for organic and natural foods.
Whole Foods said the U.S. District Court has twice ordered the information to be held under seal.
(Additional reporting by Yinka Adegoke)