Friday, October 20, 2006

Wild Oats Markets (OATS) Higher On Takeover Chatter Following Non-Renewal of CEO's Contract

Shares of natural food grocer Wild Oats Markets (Nasdaq: OATS) are higher today on takeover rumors following a disclosure from the company that they did not renew the employment agreement of CEO and President Perry D. Odak. The term of Mr. Odak's current employment agreement expires on March 19, 2007.

One analyst said, while a takeover is always a possibility the high valuation could discourage buyers. The analyst also said, the company will more likely bring in a new CEO to turn around sluggish same-store sales and generate growth by acquiring new stores.

Wild Oats is 17% owned by supermarket billionaire Ronald Burkle's Yucaipa, who has said he continues to believe that the Company has substantial opportunities for future growth as developments in the supermarket and general retail sectors have continued to create attractive opportunities for the Company to acquire new stores and expand into new geographic locations. It is unknown if Burkel would support a buyout of Wild Oats Markets.

Shares of Wild Oats Markets are 6% higher to $18.40 in mid-day action Friday.


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