Billion Dollar Merger by William Sipper

$13.7 billion for Whole Foods

From a single store in 1980 to a billion-dollar deal with online giant Amazon

How did this happen you may ask? The short answer would be slowly and steadily. John Mackey, co-founder, and CEO for over 38 years took it slowly.  He built a solid foundation and a formula that worked for them.

In 1994 with only 12 stores open they listed on the stock exchange with a list share price of just over 2 dollars. Imagine if you had bought them at that time what they would be worth today.

A Rebranding

They did not open a new business, but rather bought their first store as a going concern and then re-branded it to Whole Foods. Over the years they have continued to acquire stores.  Spreading the business footprint across the county with over seventy stores.  Recording billions annually in turnover.

As with many companies, there were rumblings to unionize from some of their 600 staff.  However, they have a lot more than 600 employees.  This process was halted and unionization was never certified.

New Billion Dollar Concept

In the late ninety’s the Whole Food stores were perceived by some consumers as being too expensive and not an everyday store. Mackey and his marketing team strategized and then launched their 365 everyday value campaign.

This offered consumers a great value deal every single day of the year.  This concept was so successful that they extended the concept to stand-alone stores labeled 365.  Thus offering great value deals on all the items in the store.

Expansion Plans

In 2002, they ventured across state borders and opened their first Canadian store. Growth and expansion followed with the largest store ever to open in Manhattan.  In 2005 they built and opened their global headquarters with their own largest store right below it stretching over an entire block.

It was not all plain sailing for Whole Foods.  Their proposed buy-out of the Wild Oats chain nearly did not happen.  There were concerns about them becoming a monopoly.  Through some smart dealing, this $565 million merger went through.

This paved the way for their expansion further.  They went abroad and acquired London based chain Fresh & Wild.  With 9 stores and expansion plans firmly being rolled out.

A Strategic Partnership

The merger with Amazon is one very smart strategic partnership this is going to change the food industry like none other.  This being the industry of organic food.

In fact, the whole food industry just got really interesting through the use of customer service, data, logistics, and technology. Amazon has weathered many storms since its inception.  Nevertheless, it continues to innovate and lead to lead the online market through their incredible logistical prowess and superlative.

These two power brands are a match made in heaven and I for one will be following their every move carefully.

Please connect with me on LinkedIn and any of my other social media accounts.


Post Author: William Sipper

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