Whole Foods to sell 35 stores, Riverside distribution center
Austin, Texas-based specialty grocery Whole Foods Market Inc. said Wednesday it plans to sell 35 Henry’s and Sun Harvest stores outlets, and a Riverside, Calif. distribution center.
The firm said the stores, now owned by Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats Market Inc., will be transferred to Commerce, Calif.-based Smart & Final Inc. if a proposed merger between Whole Foods and Wild Oats concludes.
The 35 stores, according to Whole Foods Chief Executive John Mackey 'do not fit into Whole Foods Market’s long-term real estate and brand strategy.'
The company noted that this sale is subject to prevailing in the current lawsuit with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission regarding its proposed $565 million merger with Wild Oats Markets Inc. and the actual closing of that merger.
In February, Whole Foods entered into a merger agreement, under which the firm commenced a tender offer to buy all the outstanding shares of Wild Oats Markets for $18.50 per share in cash, plus assumed debt.
The FTC, which applied for an injunction to block the merger, alleging it would affect competition and increase prices for consumers. A court hearing on the preliminary injunction is set to start on July 31.