Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Whole Foods CEO calls deal with Amazon 'whirlwind courtship'

Whole Foods CEO calls deal with Amazon 'whirlwind courtship'

"But over time, as the companies are integrated, there'll be opportunities for many of you, if you are interested in them, probably workin' for- Amazon". For now, Amazon intends to keep Whole Foods relatively intact by keeping CEO John Mackey in his role and retaining the Whole Foods name.

The acquisition is "gonna change our culture". With his successful track record this only means that sooner or later, they'll get things right. An Amazon spokesman denied any job cuts were planned.

Moreover, the technology could allow Amazon to redeploy some staff from behind the checkout counter to help service customers in the shopping aisles.

Amazon buying Austin-based grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion certainly falls into the latter category.

Despite a recent sales slump, Whole Foods still has a passionate following among foodie shoppers.

Jefferies' Brian Fitzgerald provides some more in-depth analysis of the strategy behind the deal: We believe the WFM (Hold) acquisition would give a boost to AMZN's efforts with Fresh which was launched 10 years ago and operates in 20 metro areas in the USA and overseas. "I woke up. I told my wife about it". And she said, "That's insane".

Her new target was the result of combining her "upside" scenario, which contemplated a "take-out" multiple of nine times EBITDA for a price $57 a share, and a downside scenario of $42 per share, should Amazon.com's current offer finally prevail. Mackey nonetheless has some harsh words for Jana Partners, the activist investor that pressure him to shake up his company, referring to them in the Texas Monthly interview as "greedy bastards" who wanted to make money from a forced sale. Mr. Mackey, though, wasn't interested in selling.

An Amazon representative also declined to comment.

Now that the companies have announced their tie-up, Mackey went on to say he is completely over the moon about Amazon.

Stay tuned. There's a whole lot of shaking still to come. WFM has 440 stores across 42 states in the U.S. (as of Q1), with 12 stores in Canada and nine in the UK. "I think we could have talked for 10 hours", Mr. Mackey said at the town hall.

At least one customer was concerned that an Amazon purchase would further distance Whole Foods from its roots as a purveyor of premium, organic and specialty foods.

While Wally's been trying to catch up in the the digital department by acquiring hip online clothing brands, Amazon is coming in hot from the other side of the fence - growing from an online model to having a physical retail presence across the country.

Mr. Mackey likened Friday's deal announcement to an engagement, and "like an old traditional marriage, where there are all kinds of rules and chaperones, we can't consummate the marriage, until we're actually officially hooked up".

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