re: the guy who runs Whole Foods

The bull case on Whole Foods is that they dominate the category and their typical customer doesn’t give a fuck what she pays for an organic banana so long as she does so in a store with gleaming hardwood floors and recessed lighting.

The bear case on the stock is valuation (supermarkets are moribund businesses and usually trade at low multiples) as well as the fact that right wing hippie John Mackay just might be out of his mind…

From the New Yorker:

Two years ago, Mackey passed through one of the roughest stretches of his life. The Bush Administration, in an uncharacteristic spasm of antitrust vigilance, was fighting Whole Foods’ purchase of a competitor, Wild Oats, contending that the merged company would unfairly corner what the Federal Trade Commission called the “premium natural and organic supermarket” sector. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating Mackey: for nearly eight years, he had been secretly logging onto an Internet message board devoted to Whole Foods stock under the sock puppet, or pseudonym, “rahodeb” (an anagram of Deborah, his wife’s name), praising his own company, disparaging Wild Oats, and throwing in a flattering remark about his hair (“I think he looks cute!”). Mackey, for years a media and stock-market sweetheart, was suddenly recast as a monopolist, a fruitcake, and a sneak. The share price fell, and, even though the government eventually let the deal stand (with a few concessions from Whole Foods) and gave the sock puppetry a pass, many wondered how Mackey managed to hold on to his job.

I admire the guy but would bet within five years he’s gone after some kind of incident. read the whole article and tell me you don’t agree…

Source:

John Mackey, C.E.O. of Whole Foods (The New Yorker)

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