Exclusive: Wal-Mart not deliberation a bid for Whole Foods

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc is not actively deliberation creation an offer for Whole Foods Market Inc, a source informed with a matter told Reuters on Friday.

Whole Foods, that supposed a $13.7 billion offer from Amazon.com Inc final week, has not perceived any opposition bids as of Friday, a second source said. Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity given a matter is confidential.

Wal-Mart orator Greg Hitt declined to criticism on either a association is deliberation a bid for Whole Foods. Whole Foods and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Whole Foods shares have been trade above Amazon’s understanding cost of $42 per share given a understanding was announced final Friday, as batch marketplace investors assume about a probability of a aloft offer.

Whole Foods shares reached a high of $43.84 progressing on Friday, though forsaken after Reuters reported that no opposition bids have so distant emerged. Its shares were final trade after hours during $42.85.

Wal-Mart had been sloping as a intensity bidder for Whole Foods by sell analysts, nonetheless Hitt formerly called reports that Wal-Mart competence put in a opposition offer “false and baseless.”

Wal-Mart, a world’s largest retailer, has been investing heavily in building a e-commerce business and has been appropriation smaller online companies such as Jet.com, ModCloth, Moosejaw and Bonobos.

“Bidding for Whole Foods would be a 180-degree spin from what Wal-Mart’s plan has been for a past dual to 3 years,” pronounced Edwards Jones researcher Brian Yarbrough.

Amazon’s due squeeze of Whole Foods brings intrusion to a $700 billion U.S. grocery sector, a normal area of retailing that is in a center of an heated cost war.

In credentials for that cost war, Wal-Mart in new months has cut grocery prices, softened a uninformed food and beef offerings, modernized shelving and lighting in a grocery dialect and stretched a online pick-up service.

Whole Foods’ counterpart Kroger Co, as good as Target Corp and Costco Wholesale Corp, have also been identified by analysts as intensity bidders for Whole Foods.

Both Amazon and Whole Foods support to younger consumers, including millennials, as good as some-more abundant shoppers.

Whole Foods has pronounced it will continue to work stores underneath a Whole Foods Market brand, and that John Mackey will sojourn arch executive.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Chicago and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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