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Whole Foods CEO calls deal with Amazon 'whirlwind courtship'

Whole Foods CEO calls deal with Amazon 'whirlwind courtship'

"I think that they are a very profit-driven company, so there might be some streamlining as far as labour", said Sasha Hardin, 28, of the Mount Pleasant store, who has been with Whole Foods for 6-1/2 years. Mackey said mutual friends set the companies up on a "blind date" in Seattle about six weeks ago, and executives immediately hit it off. "It's too early to talk about how benefits and compensation may synch up", Mackey said of the topic, after jesting that Whole Foods employees will get free Amazon devices on merger day.

So- it's been a whirlwind courtship.

Mackey isn't saying the company's almost 90,000 employees are about to take a hit, but he's been very frank that there will be changes.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2017, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals. "This is not - this is not a Tinder relationship".

With its purchase of Whole Foods Market, Amazon is hoping to compete with Walmart, the world's biggest retailer.

"He's buying it for all the intangibles that go with the brand; it has high emotional appeal", said Thomas Ordahl, chief strategy officer at the branding firm Landor Associates.

In reality, Amazon informally looked at acquiring Whole Foods past year, according to people familiar with the matter. Both Amazon and Whole Foods are concentrated in the country's major population centers, including California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and New York. It only seems logical that they would make this move mainstream with their newly acquired grocery chain, and according to some reports, they're already making plans to cut staff.

The surprise acquisition of Whole Foods comes at a time when Amazon has been inserting itself into the grocery market, and Whole Foods had been cutting prices.

Big Picture: Whole Foods CEO John Mackey might have gone a bit off script in his first remarks since Amazon bought his company, but he didn't share much about what the acquisition actually means. They really are. And one of my takeaways is that, by God, we're gonna become as customer-centric as Amazon. "It's a good company", she said.

Short and others suggested other potential bidders include Kroger Co., the parent of the Ralphs and Food4Less supermarket chains; Albertsons, which also owns Vons and Pavilions; and retail giant

Milstein Properties' Michael Milstein, whose company has Whole Foods as a tenant at 1551 Third Avenue, said he sees three likely motivations for Amazon's deal, with the company possibly looking to implement one or some combination of the three. "If there ever was a time crunch, I'd consider it", he said.

"I think it will be great for all parties, for them, for Amazon, for us", says Teneek Stanley, from Baltimore.

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