Mainers wary of Amazon/Whole Foods deal

That might not be the case if Whole Foods was bought by another grocery chain. But Mackey promised a big shift in focus.

Again, it's too soon to say what exactly we can expect, but considering Amazon has been trying to get into the grocery game for a while now, it's likely that some big changes are in the works. We're gonna - we're gonna - we're gonna import their passion about that.

After closing at US$42.68 on Friday, Whole Foods shares were up 1.5 per cent at US$43.32 on Monday morning after rising as high as US$43.64 earlier in the session, suggesting hopes it would end up fetching a higher price.

Ripka had once compared nabbing Whole Foods as an anchor tenant to "going to the ball with one of the belles", and his opinion on this has not changed, despite the new opportunities for online grocery shopping that Amazon's purchase could open up. Mackey had slammed the hedge-fund investors in an interview with Texas Monthly, calling them "greedy bastards" who were only interested in making a quick buck on the sale of the company.

"Ultimately there's nobody who can take it away if [Bezos] really wants it", Greif said, "and I think he really wants it".

What exactly might these innovations be?

The top 10 grocery retailers plus Amazon control less than half of the market, Blackledge says, and a patchwork of several hundred grocery chains, convenience stores, dollars stores as well as mom and pop stores make up the remainder. In December, the tech giant unveiled plans for futuristic grocery stores that don't staff cashiers.

The line, according to the transcript, garnered laughter from employees in the room. I don't know if you know that- they were, like, ranked the number-one most innovative company in the entire world. Whole Foods recorded ~$16B in sales during 2016.

It's a deal that rattles the grocery industry.

In the USA "this adds 440 refrigerated warehouses within 10 miles of probably 80 percent of the population", said Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities.

Still, Amazon has little experience folding such a large company by valuation into its organization.

When asked about how benefits and compensation would synch up for Amazon and Whole Foods employees, Mackey joked that everyone would get free Amazon Echos. "He'll be very careful tinkering with anything that could hurt the value of the brand".

Whole Foods has made some overtures to lower prices over the years, such as launching a handful of smaller stores stocked with mostly store brands under the "365 by Whole Foods Market" banner. Rumors already have Amazon making drastic changes to the store's format, now focused on organic groceries and prepared goods.