Report: Whole Foods could be taken over by Albertsons

This is a view inside the Whole Foods main store in Austin. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The private equity group that backs U.S. grocer Albertsons is considering a bid on Austin’s own Whole Foods, according to the Financial Times.

Albertsons’ buyout group, Cerberus Capital Management, has been looking to expand its supermarket business, originally expressing interest in Sprouts Farmers Market. Those talks fell apart.

A bid on Whole Foods would come three years after Albertsons acquired Safeway for $9 billion, making it the largest supermarket chain behind Walmart and Kroger.

It’s likely, according to the size of Whole Foods, Albertsons would seek assistance from other investors to seal the deal.

Whole Foods’ bottom line has been taking a hit in recent years, the Financial Times says, as more retailers are improving their organic offerings.

Analysts have said that Albertsons’ interest in Whole Foods could spark a bidding war on the brand. In a follow-up story Monday afternoon, the Financial Times said Whole Foods shares spiked following the initial report that Albertsons was exploring a takeover.

They say Whole Foods’ shares went up 3.6 percent following the report.

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