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Author: c0ffeen0te Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 3397  
Subject: e-mail to FTC Date: 6/10/2007 8:40 AM
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Using many of your ideas and what I picked up on the various links, I sent the below e-mail to the FTC...don't know if it will help but it made me feel better! Thanks all.


I am extremely concerned about the battles in which you choose to engage.

In the past years, we have seen a steady decrease in competition on so many fronts
- Undoing the AT&T break up by allowing these firms to get back together again (most recently SBC/AT&T)
- Undoing the granddaddy of them all, the original break up of Standard Oil a century ago (we let Exxon and Mobil merge and now we complain about gas prices and unseemly profit margins in that industry…yes that was a previous regime I know).
-Countless small examples more recently
o # 1 & # 2 hog producers, Smithfield and Premium Standard Farms
o Super markets like SuperValu buying Albertsons (who previously gobbled up Acme, Bristol, Jewel, Shaw's, Star…)

This latter example is particularly relevant as at the time of the merger, Supervalu, best as I can determine, had $20 Billion in sales and 1,381 locations while Albertson's had $40 Billion in sales and 1100 locations. Though admittedly, trying to compete with Walmart I don't necessarily have qualms about this.

Now comes word that two tiny David's who struggle to survive in a Wal-mart dominated industry, that are actually shaming the big boys into offering more responsibly grown food, are trying to merge over your opposition? You know the numbers:
- Whole Foods $5.6B sales, 195 stores
- Wild Oats, $1.2 B Sales, 110 stores (look at the per store sales, can they even survive alone??)

The organic foods industry is $17B, which in turn is only 3% of total grocery sales. Wal-mart announced a year ago that they would be doubling their organic offerings and so will all players in the supermarket as this is one of the few growth areas in that industry.

As they say on the Internet, WTF?

I would like to leave you with something I still remember vividly from a high school text book, and that was at least 35 years ago…two pictures, one of the entire FTC legal team on the Standard Oil case, consisting of 3 scruffy-looking lawyers. The other JD Rockefeller's legal team on the same case, an entire roomful of well-appointed lawyers any one of which no doubt made more money than the entire FTC team. The political courage and personal commitment it must have taken for the FTC to carry the day against that most powerful of interests is hard to fathom.

I think taxpayers have come to not expect much of these type pf heroics from their government agencies, but a pleasant surprise every now and then would be welcome.

Thank you for listening.
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