In this file:

 

·         US Lawmaker Calls For Hearings On Amazon’s Whole Foods Bid

Amazon is facing calls from a U.S. lawmaker for Congressional hearings on its $13.7 billion bid for grocery store chain Whole Foods Market…

 

·         Why this group is trying to stop Amazon from buying Whole Foods

Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, sees Amazon the way some Rust Belt workers see global trade — as a threat to American jobs…

 

·         Don't Bet That Antitrust Will Sink Amazon Stock
A member of Congress and a hedge fund manager are among those who believe that Amazon's growth will be capped by enforcement of antitrust laws. While this threat might boost the coffers of antitrust lawyers, the legal basis for such fears is weak…

 

·         Amazon Files Trademark to Get Into Meal Kits, Continuing to Haunt Blue Apron

Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) already torpedoed Blue Apron Holdings Inc.'s (APRN) IPO. Now, Amazon is making inroads in Blue Apron's main territory: meal kits…

 

·         Blue Apron hits all-time low as Amazon suggests it will get into the meal-kit business

Blue Apron stock is down nearly 30 percent month to date.

 

 ·         This Analyst Claims the U.S. Postal Service Is Giving Amazon a Huge Subsidy

… Sandbulte’s investment firm holds FedEx stock, meaning he has a direct interest in critiquing the USPS, and his analysis is debatable on several points…

 

 

 

US Lawmaker Calls For Hearings On Amazon’s Whole Foods Bid

 

By PYMNTS

July 17, 2017

 

Amazon is facing calls from a U.S. lawmaker for Congressional hearings on its $13.7 billion bid for grocery store chain Whole Foods Market.

 

According to a report in Bloomberg News, last week U.S. Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee calling for a hearing on the acquisition, arguing a monopoly has hurt wages for workers and created a “gross inequality in the workplace.”

 

Amazon’s proposed acquisition of Whole Foods supermarket “raises important questions concerning competition policy, such as how the transaction will affect the future of retail grocery stores, whether platform dominance impedes innovation and if the antitrust laws are working effectively to ensure economic opportunity, choice and low prices for American families,” Cicilline wrote, according to Bloomberg.

 

The call on the part of the lawmaker comes as Doug Kass, a hedge fund manager, has shorted shares of Amazon, saying antitrust concerns will hurt its stock price.  “My understanding is that certain Democrats in the Senate have instituted the very recent and preliminary investigation of Amazon’s possible adverse impact on competition,” he wrote in a blog post last week.

 

Meanwhile, last month Goldman Sachs, in a note to clients, said investors may have overlooked risks associated with regulatory issues. That hasn’t stopped the stock from surging, given the fact that the majority of Wall Street analysts have played down the potential impact from regulations. They argue Amazon doesn’t have a big concentration in any one product category and is known for keeping the price low for consumers.

 

Amazon’s acquisition of the grocery chain is expected to close at the end of this year...

 

more

http://www.pymnts.com/amazon-acquisitions/2017/u-s-lawmaker-calls-for-hearings-on-amazons-whole-foods-acquisition/

 

 

Why this group is trying to stop Amazon from buying Whole Foods

 

By Danielle Paquette, The Washington Post

July 17, 2017

 

Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, sees Amazon the way some Rust Belt workers see global trade — as a threat to American jobs.

 

So on Monday, Perrone plans to file a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, arguing that letting Amazon buy Whole Foods would trigger a wave of store closures and eventually quash customer choice.

 

“Amazon’s reach will ultimately reduce the number of grocery competitors that consumers can choose from,” he wrote in the complaint. “Regardless of whether Amazon has an actual Whole Foods grocery store near a competitor, their online model and size allows them to unfairly compete with every single grocery store in the nation.”

 

Last month, the e-commerce giant announced plans to purchase the upscale grocer for $13.7 billion, a move that would net the company more than 450 brick-and-mortar stores across the country.

 

A spokesperson would not comment on the complaint, but said Amazon did not intend to replicate its Amazon Go model, which relies on sensors instead of cashiers. (Amazon.com chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

 

“No job reductions are planned as a result of the deal,” the representative said, adding that Amazon’s history has revolved around increasing choice and lowering prices.

 

Perrone, however, said he is worried the deal would give the Web titan an “unfair advantage with suppliers,” which could put small and medium shops out of business and hike up prices for shoppers — a consequence of limited competition, he said.

 

The company’s AmazonFresh service, which is separate from the Whole Foods deal, delivers groceries to customers in Seattle, New York, Boston and D.C., among other markets. (Amazon has not released the number of subscribers.)

 

“I’ve got concerns, and our organization has concerns, about what technology does and at what cost to society,” Perrone told The Washington Post. “We don’t want to be Luddites about technology, but we’ve got real concerns about what happens to America in the future.”

 

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has roughly 1.3 members across North America, working for retailers at a typical wage of about $18 an hour, including benefits. Members are employed at stores such as Krogers, Safeway and Albertsons. Whole Foods, for contrast, isn't unionized...

 

more

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/17/why-this-group-is-trying-to-stop-amazon-from-buying-whole-foods/

 

 

Don't Bet That Antitrust Will Sink Amazon Stock

 

Peter Cohan, Forbes

Jul 17, 2017

 

A member of Congress and a hedge fund manager are among those who believe that Amazon's growth will be capped by enforcement of antitrust laws. While this threat might boost the coffers of antitrust lawyers, the legal basis for such fears is weak.

 

And those who bet on Amazon's decline are likely in for a world of hurt. (I have no financial interest in Amazon securities.)

 

Before getting into that, I think that shorting a company's stock -- e.g., borrowing shares from a broker, selling them, and hoping to use the cash so-generated to repay the stock loan by buying back the shares at a lower price -- should be done only in a very specific situation: when the investor is convinced that a heavily indebted company is highly likely to violate the terms of its loan contract with the lender. In such cases, the short seller can be pretty sure that the company will file for bankruptcy.

 

If you sell shares of a company short for other reasons, there is a better chance that the stock will go up -- which will likely lead the broker to force you to repay the stock loan by buying back the shares in the market at a higher price -- thus causing you to lose money on the bet.

 

I was surprised to see that a well-known hedge fund manager had concluded that potential antitrust problems were reason enough to sell short the shares of Amazon. I don't know how many share he shorted but given the views of a Stanford Law School professor, I am questioning the wisdom of that hedge fund manager...

 

more

https://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2017/07/17/dont-bet-that-antitrust-will-sink-amazon-stock/

 

 

Amazon Files Trademark to Get Into Meal Kits, Continuing to Haunt Blue Apron

 

Laura Berman, TheStreet

Jul 17, 2017

 

Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) already torpedoed Blue Apron Holdings Inc.'s (APRN) IPO. Now, Amazon is making inroads in Blue Apron's main territory: meal kits.

 

In a July 6 trademark application, Amazon subsidiary Amazon Technologies Inc. revealed it's planning "prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or and [sic] vegetables...ready for cooking and assembly as a meal," as well as primarily grain-based offerings.

 

The product's tagline: "We do the prep. You be the chef."

 

Amazon already sells other companies' meal kits, including Tyson Foods Inc.'s (TSN) Tyson Tastemakers. Martha Stewart is even offering meal kits on Amazon Fresh, the company's grocery delivery service.

 

Blue Apron went public shortly after the Whole Foods acquisition was announced, pricing at the bottom of an already slashed valuation. Shares closed Friday at $7.36, or 26.4% below the IPO price.

 

A German Blue Apron competitor, HelloFresh, is also reportedly mulling an IPO.

 

Major food companies are scrambling...

 

more

https://www.thestreet.com/story/14230261/1/amazon-getting-into-meal-kits-continuing-to-dominate-blue-apron.html

 

 

Blue Apron hits all-time low as Amazon suggests it will get into the meal-kit business

 

    The internet giant has registered a trademark in the U.S. for a service described as: "We do the prep. You be the chef," according to a filing previously uncovered by The Sunday Times.

    Blue Apron stock is down nearly 30 percent month to date.

    The public market may be struggling to match the high valuation that Blue Apron saw in the private market, one expert said.

 

Anita Balakrishnan, CNBC

Jul 17, 2017

 

Blue Apron shares dropped sharply Monday morning, accelerating the slide since their debut amid fresh signs of competition from Amazon.

 

The internet giant has registered a trademark in the U.S. for a service described as: "We do the prep. You be the chef," according to a filing previously uncovered by The Sunday Times, based in the U.K.

 

Blue Apron shares hit an all-time intraday low of $6.51 a share, according to FactSet, and the stock was last down more than 9 percent.

 

Blue Apron, a meal-kit delivery service backed by major investors including Fidelity, Bessemer Venture Partners and First Round Capital, has seen shares fall after hitting the public market in late June. The stock has shed nearly 30 percent month to date.

 

The public market may be struggling to match the high valuation that Blue Apron saw in the private market, given that the company is losing money, Kathleen Smith, principal at Renaissance Capital, a manager of IPO-focused ETFs, told CNBC earlier this month.

 

The unicorn start-up was valued around $2 billion in the private market, according to CB Insights estimates. But the company has posted steeper net losses each year since 2014, according to regulatory filings.

 

Jitters around Amazon's pending acquisition of Whole Foods hasn't helped matters, according to David Seaburg, head of sales trading at Cowen and Co. and CNBC contributor.

 

"Although it's a neat concept, the dominant players within the space will compete at a level that won't allow Blue Apron to be successful long term," Seaburg told CNBC earlier this month...

 

more, including links

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/17/why-is-blue-apron-aprn-stock-down-amazon-files-meal-kits-trademark.html

 

 

This Analyst Claims the U.S. Postal Service Is Giving Amazon a Huge Subsidy

 

David Z. Morris, Fortune

Jul 16, 2017

 

The U.S. Postal Service and Amazon have a special relationship. In 2013, for instance, the USPS agreed to offer Sunday delivery of Amazon packages.

 

But shipping industry watcher and money manager Josh Sandbulte thinks there’s an ugly underside to the USPS-Amazon collaboration. Sandbulte, writing in the Wall Street Journal last week, argued that the USPS effectively subsidizes the price of shipping Amazon’s packages.

 

According the Sandbulte, Congress has barred USPS from setting its parcel prices below its costs, to keep it from unfairly undercutting competitors like FedEx and UPS. But the formula for calculating those costs, set in 2006, hasn’t kept pace as packages have come to make up a higher and higher percentage of USPS volume. The law set the share of infrastructure costs associated with packages at 5.5%, but boxes now make up around 25% of Postal Service revenue.

 

Sandbulte cites an April analysis by Citigroup that put a price tag on the resulting distortion. If package delivery bore its fair share of Postal Service system costs, each box would cost $1.46 more to deliver. That "subsidy" is systemwide, and the USPS has courted other large e-commerce companies.

 

But Amazon’s size means that it benefits disproportionately, and ships around 40% of its deliveries with USPS. In Sandbulte's view, this means the Postal Service is "picking winners and losers in the retail world."

 

But Sandbulte’s investment firm holds FedEx stock, meaning he has a direct interest in critiquing the USPS, and his analysis is debatable on several points. He disingenuously describes the pricing situation as “a gift card from Uncle Sam,” which implies there’s tax money involved. But the USPS doesn’t receive tax revenues.

 

Additionally, USPS’s legal duty to provide universal service means that even at a discount, shipping boxes for Amazon helps it generate revenue from potentially unused capacity. Fixed costs aside, USPS package delivery is profitable, helping subsidize rural service and letter delivery. So there’s room for disagreement about whether the situation is actually unjust...

 

more

http://fortune.com/2017/07/16/amazon-postal-service-subsidy/