(Aug. 24) After nearly seven months of investigations and legal battles with the Federal Trade Commission, Whole Foods finally was cleared to buy Wild Oats.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied the FTC’s request for an appeal Aug. 23. According to a statement from Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Markets Inc., the merger with Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats Market Inc. is expected to be completed by the end of the day Monday.

“We are pleased to have cleared what we expect to be our last legal hurdle,” said John Mackey, chairman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Whole Foods, in a statement. “We look forward to closing this merger and believe the synergies gained from this combination will create long-term value for our customers, vendors and shareholders as well as exciting opportunities for our new and existing team members.”

Whole Foods previously said the merger, worth $565 million not including debt, would help it achieve its goal of $12 billion in revenue by 2010. The 194-store chain had $5.6 billion in sales in 2006.

Wild Oats has 109 stores in 23 states and British Columbia, Canada. The company has four banners — Wild Oats Marketplace, Henry’s Farmers Market, Sun Harvest and Capers Community Markets. Whole Foods, according to reports, plans to sell the Sun Harvest and Henry’s stores.