Via John Mackey, free-market libertarian and CEO of Whole Foods Market corporate blog:
"Let me begin this section by registering an objection to the way the FTC conducted their investigation into this deal. From the first day the FTC began their investigation they were very hostile and adversarial towards Whole Foods. Instead of conducting a dispassionate, impartial, and fair investigation into this merger the FTC consistently behaved in a biased, adversarial, and arrogant manner, while engaging in "bullying tactics" again and again and again. Whole Foods was always presumed to be "guilty" and had to try to prove our "innocence" to the satisfaction of the FTC. However, the FTC seemed to us to be completely uninterested in Whole Foods explanations for why we were doing the deal. From the very beginning the FTC staff began to build their case against the deal. It is Whole Foods' opinion that the FTC had already decided to try to prevent this merger before they even began their investigation!It seems that this world can use a few more people like John Mackey.
To give one example of FTC bullying tactics, let's look at how they behaved toward us in order to gain multiple time extensions beyond the original deadline. Whole Foods has spent thousands and thousands of hours trying to comply with the enormously burdensome requests that the FTC placed upon us and which have cost us millions of dollars in staff time, lawyers' fees, consultants' fees, supplies, and other expenses. We have produced over 20 million documents for them to "study" (which is of course impossible for them to effectively do since this amount of information is simply too large to be digested, no matter how many tax-payer funded lawyers are working on it), but the FTC could still always claim that we left something valuable out of the documentation and could then force us to start the entire process over again. On more than one occasion we came up against the time deadlines and the FTC "asked" for Whole Foods to agree to extensions. If we expressed any reluctance then the FTC brought up the threat of starting over. Needless to say, we didn't want to start over again so we agreed to the extensions. The entire process was inherently coercive....
While the FTC can look at absolutely anything and everything it wants to about our company does Whole Foods have the same reciprocal rights with the FTC? Of course not! We can't go look at all the FTC e-mails concerning Whole Foods and Wild Oats (which no doubt say some pretty interesting things about how the FTC really operates!). We can't download all the various minutes of their meetings or get a look at the FTC "strategy" concerning Whole Foods. It is totally one-sided. It is unfair. It should not be legal for the FTC to do this in my opinion."