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With Whole Foods, Amazon acquires distribution network

22 June 2017

Jeffrey Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com said "Whole Foods Market has been satisfying; delighting and nourishing customers for almost four decades - they're doing an unbelievable job and we want that to continue".

At a Whole Foods town hall meeting on Friday, CEO John Mackey gushed about how "utterly amazing" the partnership will be, and said that only good things could come of it.

Mackey explained that he and his top execs first "flew up to Seattle" to talk with Amazon about a possible merger a little over six weeks ago. He said at the town hall that the company had hired Boston Consulting Group to help Whole Foods trim $300 million in costs.

Beyond the romantic metaphor, Mackey also said the companies discussed what they could do together, though he could not share those plans until the transaction closed. With the financial backing of Amazon behind it, it could further delve into this market and support local foods in a real way.

Amazon, which agreed to pay $13.7 billion for the organic-food chain on Friday, will let Mackey continue to run Whole Foods.

Albertsons Companies Inc., the nation's No. 2 grocery-chain behind Kroger Co., began talking to Whole Foods earlier this year, after activist investor Jana Partners LLC began a campaign in February urging Whole Foods to sell. I think we coulda talked for 10 hours.

Mackey compared the relationship to an "old traditional marriage, where there are all kinds of rules and chaperones". "They're at the forefront of technology", he said of Amazon, noting, "I think we're gonna get a lot of those innovations in our stores".

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Warmbier's doctors said he had suffered extensive tissue loss in all regions of his brain, but showed no signs of physical trauma. Justin Weber told The Associated Press on Tuesday morning that a press conference is expected later to provide details.

"I just don't want Whole Foods to change how it is fundamentally", Stevens said. President Di Di Chan adds, "What makes our solution different is that it works across different formats and is so user-friendly that even my grandmother loves it".

Amazon shares also rose as Wall Street analysts lauded the proposed $42-per-share deal and bet that the company would prevail in any bidding battle.

According to analysts at Cowen & Co., Amazon, which is expected to be the ninth largest grocery retailer in the US this year thanks to Amazon Fresh, would become the third largest with the acquisition of Whole Foods.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon plans to cut jobs at Whole Foods when it takes over. Whole Foods had been working to get better at data collection with the rollout of a loyalty program, and Amazon is expected to give those efforts a significant boost. Amazon has, however, rolled out a futuristic store concept with no cashiers or checkout lines.

Whole Foods also might draw a rival offer from one or more large private-equity firms because "there's a tidal wave of money that's sloshing around" in that industry, said Eric Schiffer, chief executive of the Patriarch Organization, a private-equity firm that isn't involved with Whole Foods.

A source familiar with the matter say Amazon may roll out some (possibly extreme) cost-cutting measures to lower prices across the board at Whole Foods.