US: Whole Foods Shares Rise On Albertsons Bid Report

Shares in Whole Foods Market rose strongly yesterday after the Financial Times reported that it may be the target of a takeover bid by Albertsons Cos.

The paper, which cited unnamed sources, said private equity giant Cerberus Capital (which co-owns Albertsons) has held preliminary talks with bankers about a bid, although no offer has been made to Whole Foods.  The paper also claimed that Albertsons’ merger plans with Sprouts Farmers Market have not resulted in any headway, prompting the Whole Foods approach.

The development comes soon after activist investor Jana Partners picked up a significant stake in Whole Foods, which has reported six straight quarters of declining like-for-like sales.  News of the report sent the natural foods grocer’s shares up by nearly 5% yesterday.