Jana Partners has upped its stake in Whole Foods Market to shake up the board and senior management of the high-end grocer and push for a sale of the company. Alicia Powell reports.
New York hedge fund Jana Partners upped its stake in Whole Foods to shake up the company's management and push for its sale. Whole Foods' shares initially jumped when the news came out on Monday afternoon, but plunged on Tuesday. They have lost nearly half their value since early 2015. Jennifer Saba, Reuters Breakingviews columnist: (SOUNDBITE) JENNIFER SABA, COLUMNIST, REUTERS BREAKINVIEWS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Jana basically is pushing for a lot of different things, including, it could be, a new board directors, that may happen, and what they can do is, you know, help Whole Foods with back-end things, like getting food into the store, the procurement, they could help with customer loyalty programs, in terms of giving people more promotions and coupons. There are a whole host of things that they are proposing that can help Whole Foods be more competitive in the market place." Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods built its brand on selling natural and organic foods. But, in recent years, these categories have gone mainstream, and Whole Foods has been losing shoppers to rivals, such as Wal-Mart, Amazon, and even meal-kit provider Blue Apron. In February, Whole Foods cut its full-year sales and profit forecasts after posting its sixth straight quarter of same-store sales declines.