Shares of Whole Foods climbed higher on Monday after it was revealed that US supermarket operator Albertsons could potentially explore a takeover of the health food store.
According to two people who are familiar with the matter, Albertsons, who is controlled by buyout group Cerberus Capital, has had preliminary talks with bankers about making a bid for Whole Foods.
It was almost three years ago that Albertsons acquired Safeway for $9 billion. It was just last month that Bloomberg reported that Albertsons was in preliminary talks to merge with Sprouts Farmers market. According to two people briefed with that matter, the talks have not proceeded.
Despite the talks with Whole Foods, there has been no formal bid made yet.
Whole Foods has a market value of $11.4 billion and according to the two sources, a deal would make it one of the largest take-private deals in recent years.
Jana Partners, an activist investor, also recently revealed that it has a 9% stake in whole Foods.
A person close to the company has said that Whole Foods has hired Evercore to advise them on a strategic review of their business operations. This includes the potential idea of a sale.
Could a bidding war soon be starting for Whole Foods?
Disclaimer: We have no position in Whole Foods Market, Inc. (WFM) and have not been compensated for this article.