Whole Foods CEO John Mackey on Amazon deal: 'This is not a Tinder relationship'

  • "Mutual friends set us up on a blind date," Whole Foods CEO John Mackey says about flying out to Seattle a little over a month ago. "It was truly love at first sight."
  • Mackey's remarks at Whole Foods' town hall last week were released by the grocery chain in an SEC filing.
  • Mackey says with Jeff Bezos' Amazon, the combined team is going to make "a big difference in the food industry."

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey told a room full of excited employees at a town hall meeting about his first 2½ hour meeting with Amazon — what he calls a "blind date" — and called the grocer's deal with the e-commerce giant a "historical moment."

"Mutual friends set us up on a blind date," he said about flying out to Seattle a little over a month ago. "It was truly love at first sight."

Mackey's remarks on Friday at Whole Foods' town hall were released by the grocery chain on Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"It's been a whirlwind courtship," Mackey went on. "Because — [in a] little over six weeks after we met on this blind date, we're... officially engaged."

Mackey said with Jeff Bezos' Amazon, the combined team is going to make "a big difference in the food industry."

One audience member questioned the supermarket CEO about quality standards changing, to which Mackey responded, "Whole Foods Market's quality standards are not ... gonna change."

But, he added: "We're gonna evolve. We need to evolve. We wanna make this deal, because we think [Amazon] can help us evolve quicker and better than we could do on our own."

Mackey told employees that his company and Amazon are "engaged," like a couple, but still waiting until their transaction gets regulatory approval. The $13.7 billion deal is expected to be completed in the second half of 2017.

"Like an old traditional marriage, where there are all kinds of rules and chaperones, we can't consummate the marriage until we're officially hooked up," he said. "This is not a Tinder relationship."

Mackey closed out his speech by telling the roomful of eager Whole Foods workers, "We're all Amazon people. ... We're one large tribe, one large family."

Oh, and all Whole Foods' employees have been promised an Echo by Amazon, the day of the merger, he added.

The room burst into laughter.

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