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Private Equity Invests in Whole Foods

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A private equity firm is buying a 17 percent stake in Whole Foods Market, a much-needed vote of confidence for a chain that is being battered by increased competition and a weak economy.

The news came as the company announced a huge drop in fourth-quarter earnings amid sputtering sales.

Under the terms of the agreement, Green Equity Investors, an affiliate of Los Angeles-based Leonard Green & Partners, will invest $425 million in the company.

“We view it as a strong vote of confidence in our business model and our long-term growth prospects despite the tough current economic environment,” said John P. Mackey, co-founder and chief executive of Whole Foods, in a call with investors on Wednesday. “This equity infusion, combined with our strong cash flow from operations, gives us the financial flexibility to manage through these difficult economic times.”

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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