Sale of Whole Foods will benefit board
AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market executives and insiders will make millions of dollars if regulators and shareholders approve the Texas company’s $13.7 billion merger with Amazon.
Insiders at Whole Foods — a group that includes current and former executives, and board members — stand to take home at least $171 million in equity once the merger closes, the company disclosed in regulatory filings.
Chief Executive Officer and co-founder John Mackey will get more than $41 million of that money.
The Austin-based organic grocery chain’s top six executives, excluding Mackey, will automatically be able to cash in more than $53.7 million in shares they already own, as well as restricted stock and options that would automatically vest upon the merger’s close, expected before the end of the year, according to a San Antonio Express-News analysis.
Five of those executives could get up to $16.7 million in additional payments if Amazon terminates them or they resign for “good reason” within two years of the merger, the company disclosed in a new filing Friday.
So far, Whole Foods isn’t preparing for a shake-up to its executive team. The company told investors in June that Mackey would remain CEO and no changes are planned for the grocer’s leadership after the merger finalizes. The chain will continue to operate under the Whole Foods banner, both companies said at the time.
A Whole Foods spokesman refused to comment, and an Amazon spokesman did not respond to an email requesting comment.