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Whole Foods could be taken over by another supermarket chain, report says

25 April, 2017, 06:27 | Author: Jeff Stephens
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Grocery chain Albertsons is exploring buying Whole Foods, according to the Financial Times' James Fontanella-Khan. Shares of Sprouts, a Whole Foods competitor, declined as much as 7.7 percent to $21 on Monday.

Whole Foods, based in Austin, Texas, is reported to have hired Evercore Partners to advise them on a strategic review of its business operations, which could include exploring a sale.

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Albertsons, controlled by Cerberus Capital Management, has aggressively grown by acquisition in recent years but has unsuccessfully sought for a public offering on the New York Stock Exchange where it could raise money to pay down debts.

Albertsons' announcement comes but two weeks after Jana Partners, the activist investor, revealed it had built a 9% stake in Whole Foods and raised the possibility of a sale of the grocer, which has a market value of $11.4 Billion U.S. No formal offer has been extended, according to the Times, which cited unidentified people familiar with the matter.

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Whole Foods shares, which touched a more than 1-1/2 year high on Monday, were up 4.4 per cent in afternoon trading.

Analysts have said that Albertsons' interest in Whole Foods could spark a bidding war on the brand.

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While Foods has been struggling with sales woes for some time and announced in February that it was shuttering nine stores during the first part of 2017.

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