Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's Letter to Employees

Features Dow Jones Newswires

Dear Team Members,

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Today marks the beginning of an incredible new chapter in Whole Foods Market's history. In my nearly 39 years as co-founder and CEO, I could have never dreamed of this happening, but I am excited to announce that Whole Foods Market has entered into an agreement to merge with Amazon at a terrific value for our shareholders.

This partnership presents an incredible opportunity to take Whole Foods Market's mission and purpose to new levels and best positions our company and our Team Members for future success.

This year, Amazon earned the number one spot on "The World's Most Innovative Company" list by Fast Company. The rapid expansion of Amazon Prime plus the company's bold bets in the physical retailing world represent a constant cycle of customer-centric improvements and innovation.

Before natural and organic food became popularized and quality standards didn't exist, Whole Foods Market served as the visionary and established those standards. Amazon has played that same role in digital commerce by developing services that have revolutionized convenience and delivery for consumers.

We believe this partnership is going to create significant value for all of our stakeholders. This will enable us to be even more customer-centric and explore new ways to improve the shopping experience. Our Team Members will continue to see many opportunities for learning and growth. Most of our suppliers can expect to see increased business with us over time. Our investors are receiving a price that is 41 percent higher than our closing stock price on March 31. Whole Foods Market's deep commitment to all of our communities is going to remain as strong as ever, and our three Foundations can expect to continue to create value for their constituencies.

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While the transaction must go through regulatory and shareholder approvals and other customary closing conditions, we currently anticipate closing in the second half of calendar 2017.

We recognize this is very big news and may cause some uncertainty. On behalf of the entire leadership team, I want to assure you that Whole Foods Market's culture, mission and purpose are deeply valued by Amazon and the quality standards that we have pioneered over the past four decades will not be compromised.

The Team Member Q&A provides additional information, but many details are still being finalized. We will share updates as soon as information is available to be as transparent as possible during this process. I will continue to serve as CEO, joining Amazon's worldwide consumer organization, and our leadership network will remain the same.

As you know, we are in a metamorphosis phase. While everyone processes change differently, this is an exciting new step to fulfill our higher purpose. Together, we have built an amazing company and have positioned ourselves to deliver outstanding value for Whole Foods Market shareholders -- which includes many of you.

As a fellow Team Member, I believe the possibilities to extend Whole Foods Market's mission are virtually limitless, and I have never been more energized about what the future holds for all of us.

Much love,

John Mackey

Co-Founder and CEO

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 16, 2017 18:46 ET (22:46 GMT)