Jana Partners, the hedge fund that Whole Foods Market Inc Chief Executive John Mackey lambasted as "greedy bastards", stands to make roughly $300 million (NZD$413 million) from the sale of the grocery chain to Amazon.com Inc.
Although Amazon has been dabbling in the fresh produce arena in certain American markets recently, the acquisition of Whole Foods has upset the traditional groceries industry and also impacted food supply companies. Mr. Bezos could easily extend the benefits of his company's popular Prime membership into goods and services at grocery stores, thus giving them additional reason to buy even more from Amazon. The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2017.
Amazon, started in Seattle in 1994 by Bezos, a former hedge fund manager, has grown into the world's biggest diversified online retailer, with a market capitalization of almost $500 billion. Its curbside pickup of online grocery orders is now in more than 600 of its 4,700 US stores. Amazon lost $7 billion subsidising deliveries past year. Hetu said Amazon could make pertinent offers to attract shoppers of one but not the other, or get shoppers of both to buy more.
Wal-Mart, Target or others could respond with their own bids for Whole Foods, or for other food retailers such as Sprouts Farmers Market Inc., which is now "100 percent in play", according to Gordon Haskett analyst Chuck Grom. However, Whole Foods stock shot up 28 percent.
Yes, we'll continue to see prepared foods in demand. Having customers pick up their purchases in Whole Foods stores might help.
Analyst Madeline Hurley at research firm IBISWorld says books are more homogenous than groceries, and people want to know what they're getting in terms of foods.
The same is, however, expected to change once the acquisition is completed, according to Bloomberg. So there's lots of room to grow.
Its AmazonFresh delivery service, which has been slow to take off, accounting for 0.8% of all grocery purchases previous year.
The message is this: The brick-and-mortar retail business that pioneered organic, fresh food and the country's dominant e-commerce company makea powerful combination.
Amazon could cut costs if the technology gets good enough to deploy at Whole Foods locations. But it has been struggling to find a profitable model. It's also been testing automation technology at a Seattle convenience store that's now open only to Amazon employees. But she would never buy food online, she said. The stores could teach cooking skills, hold classes and educate about food.
Shoppers have plenty of options.
But mostly, online business gives shoppers choices, he said.
Whole Foods, which will keep its name, said in an email to customers that it will maintain its standards under Amazon, including bans on artificial flavors and colors and antibiotics in hens producing its eggs.
"I don't like the thought of my fresh groceries sitting on my doorstep while I'm at work", Anderson said. Indeed, shares in competitors sank in early NY trading. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.