The chief executive of Whole Foods Marketposted messages on a Yahoo! chat forum under an alias for years, talking up his own company while predicting a bleak future for Wild Oats Markets, the rival it has since sought to acquire.
Company CEO John Mackey posted messages on a Yahoo! financial forum under the user name "rahodeb," according to a court document filed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and postings on Yahoo!
Mackey's messages painted a bright future for Whole Foods , the largest U.S. natural and organic grocer, and downplayed the threat posed by competitors.
"The writing is on the wall. The end game is now underway for (Wild Oats) ... Whole Foods is systematically destroying their viability as a business -- market by market, city by city," Mackey wrote in a March 28, 2006 posting.
It was cited by the FTC as part of a lawsuit aimed at blocking Whole Foods' planned $565 million acquisition of Wild Oats on grounds the deal would hobble competition and increase prices to consumers.
"Bankruptcy remains a distinct possibility (for Wild Oats) IMO if the business isn't sold within the next few years," rahodeb said in another March 29, 2006 posting on Yahoo!