As investors continue to digest Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) tectonic US$13.7bn move for Whole Foods, one question being pondered is whether the fresh food grocer’s boss John Mackey is a ‘cheap date’,
“It was truly love at first sight,” is among the comments attributed to Mackey at a ‘town hall’ meeting.
Evidently, Mackey is smitten though he suggests the unexpected tryst with the world’s dominant e-commerce group is more than an online flirtation – at least, that’s one way to interpret his quip that the deal “is not a Tinder relationship”.
“We talked for two-and-a-half hours. I think we coulda talked for 10 hours. And when we huddled together, it was like we just had—we just had these big grins on our faces, like, ‘These guys are amazing,’ ” the Whole Foods chief executive is quoted as saying.
“It’s been a whirlwind courtship. Because, little over six weeks after we met on this blind date, we’re officially engaged,” Mackey said.
“But 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 … This is not a Tinder relationship.”
Whilst he’s publicly cooing, Mackey’s dowry is surprisingly less than one might imagine for sealing what is set to be America’s biggest grocery transaction.
He will bank around US$8mln from his shares in Whole Foods, according to a report by CNBC, which highlights that Mackey, a founder of the company, had halved his stake in the business in the past five years.
Mackey had been under pressure from hedge fund called Jana Partners and Neuberger Berman, an investment manager, which has criticized the grocer’s recent poor performance and called for the sale of the business.
The offer of US$42 a share represents an 18% premium to Thursday’s Whole Foods closing price.
The company opened its first store in 1980, in Austin, Texas, home to its headquarters and has grown to 431 supermarkets employing over 90,000 in the US, Canada and the UK.