Amazon’s own tough, cost-conscious work culture was the subject of a 2015 New York Times story. In contrast, Whole Foods has made Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list every year since 1998, according to Whole Foods’ website.
However, Whole Foods has struggled as business. The company reported a seventh-straight quarter of negative same-store sales in its fiscal second quarter.
“Whole Foods needs to make changes to respond to their own company’s environment. In that way I think Amazon has its own plans for how to position the company,” said Joseph Agnese, an analyst at CFRA Research.
Agnese said without the need to report as a public company, Whole Foods could also undercut competitors and sell groceries at a loss.
A Whole Food spokesperson wouldn’t comment. Amazon did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.
As for worries about technology immediately taking away jobs at Whole Foods, Amazon doesn’t plan now to automate cashier jobs at Whole Foods or lay off employees as a result of the deal, Drew Herdener, spokesman for Amazon, told The New York Times.
“I doubt we’ll see any change to the culture at WFM,” Wedbush’s Pachter said. “They will continue to manage retail, and their sales should expand dramatically as they add online ordering and delivery capability. Profitability should increase dramatically as well.”
Whole Foods may mark the beginning of more big acquisitions for Amazon. The e-commerce giant is interested in acquiring Slack, an internal messaging platform for companies, for at least $9 billion, Bloomberg reported this week, citing sources. Amazon did not immediately return a CNBC request for comment.
Watch: Is a Whole Foods bidding war coming