In this file:
· Whole Foods shareholder takes legal action to halt Amazon deal
· Shareholder's suit aims to block Amazon-Whole Foods merger
· Amazon’s bid for Whole Foods will spur wheeling and dealing
· Amazon's new strategy for India: Prime Day deals and food
· U.S. lawmaker calls for hearing on Amazon's Whole Foods deal
· Amazon is taking away the power of brand names, throwing another industry into turmoil
Whole Foods shareholder takes legal action to halt Amazon deal
Natalie Newport, National Curator, WLWT-TV (OH)
Jul 13, 2017
A Whole Foods shareholder is fighting back against the deal proposed by Amazon to take over the grocery store chain.
In a filed federal lawsuit, the shareholder, Robert Riegel, is claiming that the Whole Foods statement that was filed on July 7 outlining details of the deal is misleading and didn’t inform stakeholders of essential information.
The law suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District or Texas, reports 512Tech.
“The proxy statement states that, in connection with negotiating the merger agreement, Amazon had preliminary discussions with certain Whole Foods executive officers regarding Amazon's desire to retain such officers following the closing. However, the proxy fails to disclose the timing and nature of all communications regarding the future employment and/or benefits relating to Whole Foods management,” says the suit.
Amazon Inc. has proposed a $13.7 billion deal to acquire the Texas-based company.
According to the suit...
Shareholder's suit aims to block Amazon-Whole Foods merger
Marc Ramirez, Dallas Morning News (TX)
Jul 13, 2017
A federal lawsuit aims to thwart Amazon's proposed $13.7 billion merger with Austin-based Whole Foods, claiming that the transaction understates the grocery chain's value and isn't being conducted transparently enough.
The suit, brought by Whole Foods shareholder Robert Riegel, charges that a proxy statement filed last week by the company misleads and withholds significant information from stakeholders, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
"The proxy statement states that, in connection with negotiating the merger agreement, Amazon had preliminary discussions with certain Whole Foods executive officers regarding Amazon's desire to retain such officers following the closing" the suit says. "However, the proxy fails to disclose the timing and nature of all communications regarding the future employment and/or benefits relating to Whole Foods management."
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, also says the proxy statement failed to explain how Whole Foods calculated certain valuations. It asks the court to block the acquisition, seeking class-action status.
A Whole Foods spokesperson told the newspaper the company had "nothing to add" regarding the suit...
more, including links
Amazon’s bid for Whole Foods will spur wheeling and dealing
By Thomas Lee, San Francisco Chronicle
July 13, 2017
If brick-and-mortar retailers weren’t already thinking about making deals, they’d better be now.
Amazon.com’s pending $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market is a game changer: It allows the online giant in Seattle to not only meaningfully enter the grocery business but also to instantly gain access to 18.2 million square feet of prime real estate in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.
Once Amazon masters food, the company will no doubt open physical stores stocked with furniture, apparel and electronics, challenging incumbents like Best Buy and Target in the Twin Cities and Gap, Levi Strauss and Williams Sonoma in San Francisco.
Historically, such blockbuster deals tend to trigger other deals in a rapidly changing industry like retail, as companies scramble to find partners before they fall into irrelevancy. And that could benefit technology firms in the Bay Area: Online “last mile” delivery startups like Instacart and Postmates in San Francisco and Deliv in Menlo Park could soon find themselves acquisition targets, said Brittain Ladd, a retail consultant and former strategy executive with Amazon.
The Amazon/Whole Foods combination “is just the beginning,” Ladd said. “Everything should be on the table.”
Ladd has more credibility on this subject than most. Not only did Ladd specialize in supply chain and transportation issues at Amazon Fresh, including last-mile deliveries, but he urged Amazon to acquire Whole Foods in a paper posted on LinkedIn in 2013.
Amazon Fresh never worked — it controls less than 1 percent of the grocery market — because of a variety of transportation, distribution and assortment problems, Ladd said.
“It was not a strategic, well thought out” initiative, he said...
Amazon's new strategy for India: Prime Day deals and food
by Rishi Iyengar, CNN
July 11, 2017
Amazon has a new strategy to win big in India: Prime Day deals and selling food.
The online retail giant brought its annual blockbuster deal bonanza to three countries, including India, for the first time on Tuesday.
It's the company's latest move in a prolonged effort to grab more of the South Asian nation's huge potential market of 1.3 billion people.
Even as it began to rack up Prime Day sales on Tuesday morning, Amazon India scored another big win -- the right to sell groceries in the country.
A spokeswoman for the company confirmed that the Indian government had granted it approval for food retail, but did not provide further details.
Amazon currently sells groceries in India through a local partner called Cloudtail India, but the approval will allow it to stock and sell its own food items.
In the more immediate future, however, Amazon is eagerly waiting to see how many Prime Day deals its Indian users will snap up before the special sale ends at 3 a.m. on Wednesday.
Akshay Sahi, head of Amazon Prime India, compared the sale to one of the country's most popular festivals.
"It's like bringing Diwali early," Sahi told CNNMoney in an email.
Prime Day also made its debut in China, a country where the company has long struggled to compete with big local firms like Alibaba (BABA, Tech30) and JD.com (JD).
But CEO Jeff Bezos is clearly focused on China's southern neighbor -- he has funneled massive amounts of money into India in recent years, earmarking $5 billion since 2014 to grow the company's business in the country.
Amazon introduced its Prime subscription service to Indian users for the first time last July, before also rolling out its Netflix (NFLX, Tech30) rival -- Amazon Prime Video -- in December.
Sahi told CNNMoney that the number of Prime subscriptions in India has doubled since the start of 2017.
A low price point probably helps...
U.S. lawmaker calls for hearing on Amazon's Whole Foods deal
Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli / Reuters
July 14, 2017 / 9:22 AM /
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative David Cicilline, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel, has urged the subcommittee to hold a hearing on Amazon.com Inc's (AMZN.O) plan to buy Whole Foods Market Inc (WFM.O).
The $13.7 billion deal announced in June would help the online retailer make inroads into the grocery sector and brick-and-mortar retail space.
Cicilline requested the hearing on Thursday in a letter to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee and the subcommittee chairman. Shares of Amazon were down 0.2 percent in mid-morning trading on Friday.
"Amazon’s proposed purchase of Whole Foods could impact neighborhood grocery stores and hardworking consumers across America," Cicilline said in a statement. "Congress has a responsibility to fully scrutinize this merger before it goes ahead."
Amazon declined to comment.
The deal must be approved by U.S. antitrust enforcers, in this case most likely the Federal Trade Commission. Congress plays no formal role in that process but hearings are often used to highlight the possible impact of deals on consumers.
Also this week, hedge fund manager Douglas Kass from Seabreeze Partners Management Inc said he was shorting shares of the retailer because of concern about Amazon in Washington...
Amazon is taking away the power of brand names, throwing another industry into turmoil
Consumer packaged-goods companies are cutting back on marketing, signaling complacency, analyst says
By Caitlin Huston, MarketWatch
July 11, 2017
Big brands may have given into the power of Amazon.com Inc.
Consumers influenced by Amazon’s approach are shopping based on price rather than the brand name, which is causing them to avoid physical stores, said James Cakmak, an analyst at Monness, Crespi, Hardt. While Amazon’s effect on physical retail stores is well-chronicled, Cakmak says that the major brands that are sold in those stores are now dealing with the results as well.
As Amazon AMZN, +0.13% and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT, +1.37% make bigger pushes into the packaged-goods categories, brand names are spending less on marketing and backing away from their original models, Cakmak wrote in a Monday note. The $800 billion consumer packaged-goods category includes name-brand detergents, foods and personal care items, with large companies such as PepsiCo Inc. PEP, +0.73% Johnson & JNJ, +0.33% and Mondelez International Inc. MDLZ, +0.54%
“We see these companies starting to give up, and that’s a bad thing for the industry, consumers and the country,” Cakmak said in the note.
In the past, these companies were able to dominate their sector by controlling how the goods were distributed and placed on the shelf at retail stores. With prime presentation in stores, the companies would spend heavily on marketing, which made up 20% to 25% of their budgets, to influence consumers’ buying decisions.
Now, instead of fighting for shelf space, Cakmak says the companies appear to be scaling back spending. In his quarterly check with major advertising agencies, he found that consumer packaged-goods companies were spending less on marketing. More worrying were reports that these companies were more focused on protecting the bottom line, rather than investing in growth and new innovative strategies to combat the online models.
“We don’t know where the bottom is, but it’s not looking good,” Cakmak wrote.