AUSTIN, Texas — The bizarre seven-month saga of Whole Foods' effort to acquire Wild Oats took a giant step toward closure last week after a federal court thwarted last-ditch efforts by the Federal Trade Commission to block the deal on antitrust grounds. Whole Foods said it had acquired most of the stock of its smaller, publicly traded rival in a tender offer of $18.50 per share and had secured a five-year, $700 million loan to fund the purchase. Several question marks still hang over the ...

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