Whole Foods Board Backs CEO

Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market Inc. said Friday it completed its investigation into online financial message board postings made by chief executive John Mackey about rival and acquisition-target Wild Oats Markets Inc., saying the company's board continues to support him.

Mackey posted on Internet financial forums over seven years under the name "rahodeb" to talk about Whole Foods and at times attack Wild Oats, calling the smaller company's stock overpriced and predicting it would fall into bankruptcy.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating the postings. Whole Foods said it did not have any comment on the investigation due to the SEC's ongoing inquiry.

The postings came to light as part of a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission to block Whole Foods from buying Wild Oats on antitrust grounds. That lawsuit was unsuccessful, and the acquisition closed at the end of August.

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