Whole Foods CEO Caught In Embarrassing Message Board Brouhaha

from the mackey dept

The FTC's decision to oppose Whole Foods' acquisition of Wild Oats is the result of a misguided and myopic definition of what constitutes the relevant market. And while many expect Whole Foods to ultimately prevail, the proceedings have been unpleasant for the company's CEO, John Mackey. First it was revealed that Mackey championed the merger, in part because he believed that by taking Wild Oats out of play, it would prevent another supermarket chain from quickly becoming a Whole Foods rival. That may or may not be damning (from an antitrust perspective), but a new revelation will prove to be far more embarrassing. As part of its latest legal filing, the FTC dropped the bombshell that John Mackey had, for several years, been posting on the the Yahoo Finance message boards under a pseudonym, cheerleading his company's success and denigrating its rival, Wild Oats. He even made predictions about the company's stock price, putting out extremely high estimates for its performance. It's not clear that what he did was necessarily illegal, but his posting seems unethical and highly foolish, at the very least. If nothing else, the company's stockholders should wonder about what the boss is doing with his time.

Filed Under: message boards
Companies: whole foods


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  1. identicon
    SailorRipley, 13 Jul 2007 @ 7:51am

    Re: This is clearly a violation of Insider Trading

    [Disclaimer: I have no stock, but do occasionally shop at a Whole Foods]

    I am slightly less quick to judge...

    I read the linked article and nowhere does anybody state (or even claim) that he did something illegal...at no point is anybody claiming that he used, or made available, any corporate information that was not already in the public domain.

    I totally agree that IF he did, it was illegal to do so and he should be appropriately punished for it, however, based on what I've read, there is no proof, not even a real hint, that he actually did that.

    Using a pseudonym etc... might seem shifty, but let's face it, any blog/site he would post on wouldn't, not for even 5 seconds, result in any real discussion (same would go for Jobs, Gates,...). I don't know if he did anything illegal, but judging from what I have been able to read on the subject, it looks like he had no illegal agenda and was just arguing (like he would have (been able to) if he hadn't been the CEO).

    I'm not saying with certainty he is innocent, I don't know, not 100% sure, but (sorry to repeat myself) based on what I've been able to read, my statement is much more backed up by facts than yours...either of us can be wrong/right, but based on available information, your confidence is somewhat misplaced in my opinion

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