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Opinion
Matt Levine

Grocery Deals and Bond Ethics

Also blockchains, hedge funds, crime, Goldman, Buffett and ghost unicorns.

Whole Foods.

You can tell a sort of satisfying shareholder-activism story about Amazon.com Inc.'s acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. Whole Foods came under pressure from shareholder activists like Jana Partners LLC. Its chief executive officer John Mackey complained bitterly in a Texas Monthly interview about how the activists were "greedy bastards" who "just want to sell us, because they think they can make forty or fifty percent in a short period of time," and he bemoaned the short-term time horizons and myopic shareholder-value focus of public-company shareholders. And then he sold his company to Amazon, a company with a geological time horizon, a company that embraces bold experiments, "a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers." Given that Mackey talked about his battle with activists as a "morality play between conscious capitalism and greedy, short-term financial capitalism," Amazon seems like an obvious fit, though I suppose there are some cultural differences: