Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Whole Foods/Wild Oats Deal Update

The graphic above is an advertisement in today's Orange Country Register, a Southern California daily newspaper, Whole Foods placed for the grand opening today of its market in Tustin, California. The store has been completely remodeled and enlarged, including the addition of expanded takeout food areas, a sitdown tea bar, and fresh meat and seafood grilling stations, among other upscale features. Whole Foods nearly tripled the store's size. You can read a feature article in today's Register about the store, shoppers reactions to the remodeling and related topics here:

Natural~Specialty Foods Memo (NSFM) has been keeping our readers up to date on the Whole Foods acquisition of Wild Oats Markets, Inc. Below are today's key developments.

Whole Foods has Deal Financing Lined Up

Whole Foods Markets announced today it has the financing lined up to complete its acquisition of Wild Oats Markets, Inc. The grocer says it has taken out a $700 million loan to complete the buyout. Whole Foods paid $565 million for Wild Oats in addition to assuming $137 million of Wild Oats debt as part of the deal. The $700 million loan will allow Whole Foods to move forward with purchasing the 90% of Wild Oats' stock which has been already tendered to be bought by the grocer.

Whole Foods/Wild Oats Begin Integration

The integration of Wild Oats Markets, Inc. into Whole Foods Market, Inc. has already started according to both companies.

Whole Foods says it should complete all the details of the acquisition by the end of this week.

Whole Foods also says it is evaluating each of the Wild Oats stores and is likely to close or relocate some of them. The grocer has already announced it will sell 35 Wild Oats stores under the Henry's Farmers Market and Sun Harvest banners to a subsidiary of Southern California-based Smart and Final, Inc. Whole Foods also confirmed that eventually all of the Wild Oats' banner stores they keep will be changed to the Whole Foods store banner.

Sonja Tuitele, a Wild Oats spokeswoman, says Whole Foods has already began holding meetings with Wild Oats store-level employees. She also says Whole Foods has guaranteed all retail store employees they will have jobs after the merger in complete.

No comments: