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FTC starts inquiry into Vitamin Shoppe deal

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (AP) -- Federal regulators are investigating Vitamin Shoppe's planned purchase of Super Supplements Inc., forcing the companies to push off closing the deal until next year.

Shares of the vitamin and supplement retailer fell 2.7 percent, or $1.49, to $54.49 in late-morning trading.

The Federal Trade Commission advised the companies that its inquiry would extend into next year.

The deal was expected to close this year and both companies, in light of the investigation, agreed to extend the deadline until March.

A brief statement from Vitamin Shoppe did not detail the reason for the investigation, but it said the companies were cooperating.

"There can be no assurance as to whether and when the transaction will be consummated in light of these developments," the company said in a printed release.

Vitamin Shoppe, based in North Bergen, N.J., announced its $50 million buyout proposal on Dec. 17 in a bid to expand its presence in the Pacific Northwest. Super Supplements runs 31 stores in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.