What happens now that Amazon is acquiring Whole Foods?
It seems like just yesterday — actually, it was just yesterday — that reports were published saying John Mackey had called the people behind Jana Partners, a hedge fund with a nine percent stake in Whole Foods, “greedy bastards” intent on ruining his reputation and forcing a sale of the company he co-founded to make a quick profit. As it turns out, it appears Mr. Mackey and the “bastards” have both won after it was announced this morning that Amazon.com was acquiring Whole Foods in a deal valued at $13.7 billion.
Whole Foods will continue to operate its business under its own banner and Mr. Mackey will remain as CEO of the company. Whole Foods’ headquarters will remain in Austin, TX.
“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a statement announcing the deal. “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades — they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.”
“This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers,” said Mr. Mackey
While details of how the deal developed are not yet public, it has previously been reported that Amazon had internal discussions last year about a possible bid for Whole Foods. While reports indicated Amazon decided to pass, ultimately it came back to the idea as evidenced by today’s announcement.
- Amazon to Acquire Whole Foods Market – Amazon.com, Inc./Whole Foods Market, Inc.
- The Shelf Life of John Mackey – Texas Monthly
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think is likely to happen to Whole Foods once Amazon’s acquisition is approved? What will ownership of a major retail chain mean for Amazon’s future plans to move into physical retail?