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Monday, December 21, 2009

Buying Wild Oats was a bad call

So says the Whole Foods boss:

It's unfortunate for us that we had made the decision to acquire Wild Oats when we did. We bought that company at the peak before everything came crashing down, or we obviously would have paid less. We didn't realize of course that the Federal Trade Commission was going to try to block it.

In order to do that acquisition, the company took a lot of debt on, and at the wrong time, right before the downturn came. So when everything seemed to be falling apart last September, we were worried, and our sales were falling off the edge of the world. We were very concerned that, gosh, where's the bottom here?

And we were a little worried we weren't going to have enough money. Because we'd taken all that debt on and our sales were plummeting, it was like, wow, we need more capital. So we made that decision fairly quickly to go raise money in the private equity market, and we raised $425 million from Leonard Green (a Los Angeles private equity firm).

But it was more or less like we were buying an insurance policy. In case the worst-case scenario came about, we wanted to make sure we survived.

Comments (4)

Awwww. Poor baby, buying at the top of the boom like that. We should all rush out and buy everything we can from Whole Foods just to show our support for business decisions such as these, shouldn't we?

I didn't think so. Looks like he's going to have to bully his employees into buying more overpriced fake medication to make up the shortfall.

I believe the statements that Mackey is making are intended more for the shareholders and investor community than at Whole Foods customers.

And with that former group, his record isn't good.

You would have thought that a company that makes its living selling organic food would have know that organic growth of their business was the way to go.

I often wonder how many really strong companies have died in the last couple of years due to suffocation by debt.

Greed: Ain't it a bitch!

He should have talked to Tom Peterson (and Gloria too) before making a mistake like that...

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