Whole Foods chief executive John Mackey wasn’t exactly coy about his feelings towards Amazon’s $13.7bn proposal to join together in corporate matrimony with his upscale grocery chain.
“It was truly love at first sight”, Mr Mackey told Whole Foods employees at a company town hall on Friday, when the deal was announced. Mr Mackey and other Whole Foods and Amazon executives went on to lavish praise on the proposed deal and tout its potential benefits for both companies.
Here are some of the most colourful quotes from a transcript of the meeting, which was part of a regulatory filing made late Monday:
Mr Mackey: “So I just— putting it a little bit in narrative form— how did we meet? It was actually mutual friends set us up on a blind date. (LAUGHTER) And— Jason Buechel and Ken Meyer and David Lannon and I flew up to Seattle a little over six weeks ago. And— it— we just fell in love. It was truly love at first sight.”
Mr Mackey: “So— it’s been a whirlwind courtship. Because— little over six weeks after we met on this blind date, we’re— we’re f— officially engaged, (LAUGHTER) as of today. But like an old traditional marriage, where there are all kinds of rules and chaperones, we can’t consummate the marriage, (LAUGHTER) until we’re actually officially hooked up. This is not— this is not a Tinder relationship. (LAUGHTER) I got a feeling I’m off script. (LAUGHTER) But I do wanna communicate, A) I am, like, super excited. And so I also wanna reassure you that we’re keeping our corporate headquarters here in Austin. We’re not gonna be moving out to Seattle.”
Mr Mackey: “This is kind of the dream come true. And I will tell you something. About a year and a half ago, I dreamed that we merged with Amazon. I woke up, and I told my wife about it. And she said, ‘That’s crazy.’ (LAUGHTER) And I said, ‘I know. That’s really weird, isn’t it?’
“And then of course, I didn’t think about it again, until it’s like— I remember telling Glenda, ‘Glenda, do you wanna know something weird? I had this dream (LAUGHTER) a year and a half ago.’ And so now, today, it’s coming true. So dreams are powerful things.”
Walter Robb, director and former co-chief executive* at Whole Foods: “You know, I— I said this morning, on the call with the WFLN, I said, ‘Do you think Amazon, do you think they’re gonna show up in headdresses, or they’re gonna war dance or somethin’ like that?’ (LAUGHTER) But they’re actually just really good people.”
Mr Robb: “And I think the magic’s gonna come from the fact that they’re— we’re both thinking about— the— the deeper purpose of why we’re in business and what we’re here to do. So I’m really— I’m pleased. This— this— this is— this is a day of magic. This is a day of pixie dust.”
Mr Mackey: “Whole Foods Market’s quality standards are not— are not gonna change. I mean, there’s no intention to do that. We’ve — we’ve got a lot invested in our brand. And— these guys are really smart people. They’re not stupid enough to go change that. Because that would— that would be like, you know the pixie dust we were talkin’ about? That’s like the— that’s the death dust. (LAUGHTER) So they’re not gonna do that.”
Jeff Wilkie, Amazon chief executive of worldwide consumer: “They’re gonna make us a lot better company. I mean, these guys are, again, the most innovative company in the entire world. I think we were, like, number 28 on that list. So— that’s not bad. It’s pretty good for a grocer.”
Mr Mackey: “(T)hey’re at the forefront of technology. And we are— we’re a little behind there. So I think that we can expect that we’ll go to the front of the class, eventually, in the grocery business, from— from, like, the class dunce to, like, the— (LAUGHTER) you know, what are we, the class valedictorian.”
Mr Mackey: “So— there are no guarantees in life. Some marriages end up badly. There are— there’s an industry of divorce out there. (LAUGHTER) But— I think we’re choose— I think we’re choosing very, very well for ourselves. And— I feel confident that this partnership is gonna be— well, I think it’s gonna change the world. That’s what I think. This— this partnership’s gonna change the world. And we’re gonna all be part of it. How cool is that?”
(*This article has been amended to correct Mr Robb’s current job title.)