Leonard Green & Partners

By John Mackey, November 7, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by John Mackey

I’m really excited to announce that Leonard Green & Partners has invested $425 million in Whole Foods Market (a 17% percent ownership). We are pleased that Leonard Green, one of the most experienced and successful investors in the retail industry, has decided to make such a significant investment in our company.  We view this as a strong vote of confidence in our business model and our long-term growth prospects, despite the tough current economic environment.  This equity infusion, combined with our strong cash flow from operations, gives us the financial flexibility to manage through these difficult times while continuing to prudently invest in our long-term growth as we remain committed to our mission and core values. For my further thoughts, check out this video.

Category: investors

 

127 Comments

Comments

maricel whittenburg says ...
You are a great American, Mr. Mackey. Thank you for standing up to what is right. We will still be loyal customers of Whole Foods with you as CEO. If they fire you, then, we'll show our support somewhere else!!
08/15/2009 9:43:42 AM CDT
RisingDamp666 says ...
Retail is just badly suited to being publicly traded unless you are of a size and scale where you can leverage that into shareholder value. That said, I hope that this cash infusion is enough to take care of WFM over the term. Reducing waste, improving the quality of management at the store level, and driving a much harder bargain with vendors that still demand too much money for their products are good ways to turn the arrows around and position WFM to be a stronger, better run competitor in this amazingly competitive sector.
11/11/2008 6:55:57 PM CST
Peach says ...
Well, that's good news. I am hopeful that your company can expand to the Grandville, Michigan area one day in the future. You've got a ton of future shoppers just waiting for the opportunity to part with their hard-earned cash in these parts.
11/24/2008 9:36:52 PM CST
Tsadi says ...
Dear Mr. Mackey, you come up as a straightforward person, I really think that this action is a positive step towards a better 2009. This kind of action, is not an easy one, thus my fully appreciation to you and the other members of the management team. I leave in Israel, but overwhelmed on a daily basis by WFM, and its ability to present a different approach to the retail market. You were, and still are the pioneers of this niche. TO be honest I was really concerned for the company’s future facing this terrible economic situation we are all experiencing, but this last action with Green is very wise thing of you to do. Thanks to that WFM has great chance to go through the economic storm, and thrive. Personally, every visit in the states is accompanied with a visit in WFM. All the Best, Tsadi
11/30/2008 4:48:47 AM CST
L Stallings says ...
Thank you Mr. Mackey for speaking out for more sensible affordable health care reforms that the American people can afford. You are obviously very smart and practical with the Whole Foods unique and thoughtful brand but also realizing we cannot afford all these crazy utopian spending binges that will bankrupt this great Country. We will continue to shop with 300-400 dollars a week groceries and more!!!
08/15/2009 2:59:54 PM CDT
JAG says ...
Mr. Mackey - I can only splurge on special occasions to shop at WF. But because of your courage, character and integrity, I will now be tightening my belt somewhere else in my budget and shop more often at your stores in my long-time socialist community of Ann Arbor, MI. People who believe they have a right to "everything" just because they breathe and every one of their "warts" MUST be taken care of by someone else (meaning employers OR people who are healthier and TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES paying the HIGHER premiums) are the most arrogant beings in existence. I hope they boycott your stores because the silent ones are the ones who will now shop at WF more often. The shallow, sanctimonious, narcissistic liberals are the obnoxious voices devoid of values and I hope they boycott. You will NOT lose Mr. Mackey. You have won something more precious than shoppers - more respect. I look forward to becoming a frequent shopper at Whole Foods.
08/15/2009 2:44:58 PM CDT
Suzanne says ...
Mr. Mackey, This is indeed extremely exciting!! I know an investment of that magnitude is not just a sign of faith, but a definite understanding of Whole Foods' importance. I just had my first Whole Foods experience in your newest store here in Jacksonville yesterday. Amazing!! It was a pleasure to ALL my senses. Although Jacksonville is having some difficult economic times like most of the country, I think choosing and purchasing food mindfully is always a wise investment. Yes, quality can cost a little more sometimes, but the benefits outweigh those costs, especially when it comes to healthcare down the road. After making the decision yesterday that I would definitely return to Whole Foods on a regular basis, I was so pleased to find this blog today and learn of this investment, which will hopefully help Whole Foods stay and GROW in the Jacksonville area. I would like to also thank you for maintaining a blog as it truly communicates your passion for the mission of Whole Foods and your understandable need to maintain a connection with the customers and community. I am WHOLE-heartedly impressed. Thank you!!!!
12/14/2008 10:58:37 AM CST
mark says ...
it's a pitty your core customers are Obamamaniacs. I totally agree with your stance on healthcare along with what I hope is 60% of America. Never be afraid to tell the truth in a free country mark TX
08/15/2009 3:29:57 PM CDT
Joel says ...
Based upon the article I read from John Mackey in the WSJ, I respectfully note that I will not shop at Whole Food stores anymore. You are a scary dude and based upon your assessment on the possible health care legislation I perceive that you (John Mackey) can make a case for repealing Medicare and Social Security, both socialist programs. I'm sure you can replace a liberal like me with all the conservatives in NY who will certainly flock to your stores.
08/15/2009 9:29:28 AM CDT
Dagmar Rossberg says ...
Mr. Mackey, I am delighted about the good news, especially in our bleak economy. Someone is willing to invest money in something as fabulous as Whole Foods!YES! My husband and I travel frequently to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to shop. A feeling of health, happiness, and balance envelopes me when I enter the store. My husband and I were raised in Europe on whole, nutritionally-rich foods without 'green No9', MSG, Splenda, growthhormones and the like. Please consider opening a Whole Foods Market in Oklahoma City. SOON. I am sending you a 'verbal hug'! Take care. Dagmar and family (cats included)
01/30/2009 6:24:47 PM CST
PJ says ...
This may not be the time to expand considering your loss of customers that is happening because of your ill advised words in the WSJ concerning health care. What color is the sky in your world? I have shopped at Whole Foods since it opened in San Diego. Your words show such a lack of compassion for the Whole Nation, people who can afford to shop at Whole Foods and people who can't afford thier next meal is disgraceful. You have lost another customer. Re-think expanding at this time.
08/14/2009 4:16:24 PM CDT
Deborah says ...
Regarding Mr. Mackey's comments on health care, I'll be taking my business to the Santa Monica Food Co-Op until Mr. Mackey gets his head on straight.
08/14/2009 7:59:05 PM CDT
Elizabeth Kaye says ...
I am disgusted at your stance on health reform. I have shopped at Whole Foods for many years. I will no longer do so but will find other options. I am so disappointed... I for some unkownon reason all these years thought that Whole Foods was in syinc with real humanity. I am devasted to learn the truth. I cannot tell you how hurt I am to learn of your stance on this critical issue. I have lost a father, sister, sister-in-law and grandson because of pre-existing conditons and age that insurance companies decided to let die. Goodbye Whole Foods. I will nor will my family, neighbors or friends shop there again... ever. You are a disgrace to the real population of people that get what democracy is all about.
08/15/2009 12:13:44 AM CDT
guy says ...
Hopefully Leonard Green paid with an American Express card, so he can void the charge. Otherwise he is going to be stuck with 17% of a company that suddenly only appeals to 17% of the population. Way to be awesome, Mackey!
08/15/2009 6:18:14 AM CDT
Tim S says ...
Thank you for some sanity in this world of political lies and mistruths. I agree with you and because of this I will make sure to shop at your store even more than I do now. Thanks.
08/15/2009 5:18:13 PM CDT
J Zalesak says ...
Bravo Mr. Mackey for having eloquently expressed your concern that more affordable health care options be explored before we repeat the mistakes of our one world neighbors. I will certainly go out of my way to shop your stores, though, wish you had an on-line store for those of us in rural America. My family will be stocking-up to improve our family's health to ward-off the bleak alternative of socialized medicine. Please consider setting up an outreach co-op for the grass-roots customer who knows how to live within their means.
08/15/2009 6:09:09 PM CDT
mvesel says ...
Way to go!! I will now beign shopping in your stores. Any time I am in the area I will stop in to buy something.
08/15/2009 7:51:03 PM CDT
KAB says ...
Mr. Mackey, Thank you for your courage in speaking out about the detrimental effects of the proposed healthcare legislation and offering more sane solutions to our problems. Like another poster, WF is where we shopped when we wanted to splurge or needed a specialty item. But because of your bold actions, we will cut our budget elsewhere to make room for more WF shopping. I am telling every patriot I know and in fact found another WF convert today!
08/15/2009 11:16:11 PM CDT
Jim Capatelli says ...
Does Leonard Green & Partners understand the market for Whole Foods? Do they realize the type of people who normally shop there? These people---I would venture to guess---voted for Barack Obama 80-20. Do they understand that they just handed over a huge amount of money to a company whose CEO just raised the middle finger to their most loyal customers? I thought you'd like to understand this. You see, my spouse and I used to be very loyal Whole Foods customers. I estimate we spent around $7,000 annually at their stores. We are seething with anger about this. We feel like we were just kicked in the teeth. After the vile Wall Street Journal screed by John Mackey, we will never spend one penny in this store. The very logo now gives us the creeps. And we'll make sure that everyone we know hears about this.
08/16/2009 5:08:00 AM CDT
Terry L says ...
Really, really bad business decision for a CEO to voice an opinion that is sure to alienate core customers. You should write a book on how to destroy a brand. This will likely be talked about in business schools for years.
08/16/2009 10:11:23 AM CDT
Mary Bartlein says ...
I completely agree with your WSJ op-ed. This is exactly what we need for health care "reform". Most of all, we need the government to stay out of our lives and not take over another industry. I've never shopped in your store even though there's one in our downtown area (Sarasota, FL). I will make a point to stop in next time I'm in the area.
08/16/2009 10:46:50 AM CDT
Fxmed says ...
Thank you for your comments. The other issue is the FDA. We need reform on their requirements. It costs millions to get things approved that should not have to go through this type of scrutiny and cost. We would get more holistic type of research and more products if we could get rid of the FDA as we know it. Also, if a person has not worked in the health care field or been in business, it is hard for them to grasp the view points you present. There are so many details the public just does not see. Keep up the good work.
08/17/2009 10:22:07 AM CDT
Justin says ...
Dear John Mackey This is to SUPPORT your recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Rest assured, angry people are far more likely to speak up (esp when organized by social networking sites), than people who were either not bothered by the op-ed or even appreciated it. I fall into the latter category, as do several others that I spoke to about the op-ed. Please continue to exercise your right to free speech and be comforted by the fact that -- in all likelihood -- this will not affect your sales at all. Thank you for standing up for what you believe is right, and thank you for showing via example that it is possible for large companies to offer sane, economic and compassionate insurance benefits for their workers, including even some that are not full time. Saluting you!
08/18/2009 6:58:11 AM CDT
Melanie Humphrey says ...
Thank you for the most thoughtful and sensible health care reform proposal I have read. Your plan is excellent, and I have written to all of my legislators asking them to consider it and work to implement it. Would you consider running for public office on a national level? Don't worry about any lost customers; you have gained many more.
08/18/2009 8:05:52 AM CDT
bob says ...
i hope Leonard gets some republican to replace me because i am not buying at expensive Whole Foods anymore...
08/18/2009 3:00:33 PM CDT

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