Wild Oats: It May Be Time To Reap

Wild Oats Markets (OATS) isn't your run-of-the-mill food chain: It specializes in natural foods. And every Wild Oats shopping bag bears the home phone number of CEO Mike Gilliland, seeking comments or questions about this No.2 natural-food supermarket. Now, it appears that No.1 Whole Foods Market may call Gilliland about a buyout: Although the two are bitter rivals, Whole Foods may be interested in Wild Oats "for practical business considerations," says one New York investment manager who has snapped up Oats shares.

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