John Mackey, the CEO and cofounder of Whole Foods, didn’t want Goldman Sachs’ help selling his company.
In a profile of the Whole Foods CEO in Texas Monthly, Mackey made a sarcastic joke to the magazine’s Tom Foster about Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Activist investor Jana Partners took a stake in the high-end grocer in April and pushed for a sale, which Mackey was against, and Mackey said Blankfein tried to ingratiate himself during a meeting in hope of landing a deal.
Mackey had been due to give a speech at Goldman Sachs’ Manhattan office when news of Jana Partners taking an activist stake in the company hit the wire.
“From that moment on, I was drowning in it,” Mackey says, “including when I got to Goldman Sachs. The CEO of Goldman [Lloyd Blankfein] wanted to meet with me because, of course” — he adopts a sardonic tone, a tic that tends to make his handlers stiffen up — “‘Goldman Sachs would love to represent you. If you guys are going to be sold, we’d love to make one hundred million dollars doing that. Don’t forget your buddies at Goldman Sachs!'”
Goldman did not get in on the Whole Foods side of the deal, but instead is advising Amazon. It will help to provide a bridge loan to Amazon to buy the company for $US13.7 billion along with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and an Amazon filing said Goldman Sachs will be the only firm to receive “brokerage fees, commissions or finder’s fees” for the merger.
Looks like Blankfein got the last laugh after all.
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