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WFM

Whole Foods

$29.33

1.37 (4.90%)

, KR

Kroger

$29.27

-0.1 (-0.34%)

11:25
10/07/16
10/07
11:25
10/07/16
11:25

Whole Foods pulls back as analysts voice skepticism of takeover rumors

After speculation circulated yesterday that Kroger (KR) was looking to buy Whole Foods (WFM) for $40 per share, two research firms - Citi and Pivotal Research - suggested that such a rumored deal will probably not occur. CITI: Acquiring Whole Foods for $40 per share would be an "uncharacteristic" move for Kroger, according to Citi analyst Alvin Concepcion. The transaction would be expensive, as Whole Foods would be valued at a significantly higher amount than supermarket chains Harris Teeter and Roundy's received when they were acquired, Concepcion stated. Moreover, Kroger's net debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ratio would rise to 3.5 times, versus its 2-2.2 times target, according to the analyst. The valuation premium of the deal versus the previous transactions would drop significantly if Kroger can achieve $500M of synergies, Concepcion noted. However, he thinks that it would be "difficult" for Kroger to achieve such a high amount of synergies. The analyst kept a $39 price target and buy rating on Kroger. PIVOTAL: The "chatter" about an acquisition of Whole Foods by Kroger is "a head fake," and "follows a steady stream of bogus takeover rumors," according to Pivotal Research. Meanwhile, expectations for Whole Foods' Q4 results are low, but the results could still come in below expectations, the firm stated. The Street is failing to appreciate the extent of the earnings risk faced by Whole Foods, added Pivotal, which kept a Sell rating on Whole Foods and a Buy rating on Kroger. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, Whole Foods fell 1.1% to $29 per share and Kroger slid 0.5% to $29.20. Yesterday, Whole Foods shares advanced nearly 5%.

WFM

Whole Foods

$29.33

1.37 (4.90%)

KR

Kroger

$29.27

-0.1 (-0.34%)

WFM Whole Foods
$29.33

1.37 (4.90%)

08/04/16
FBCO
08/04/16
NO CHANGE
Target $40
FBCO
Outperform
Whole Foods added to US Focus List at Credit Suisse
09/23/16
LEHM
09/23/16
INITIATION
Target $30
LEHM
Equal Weight
Whole Foods initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
Barclays analyst Karen Short started Whole Foods Market with an Equal Weight rating and $30 price target.
10/07/16
SBSH
10/07/16
NO CHANGE
Target $39
SBSH
Buy
Citi says Whole Foods buyout would be uncharacteristic for Kroger
Citi analyst Alvin Concepcion weighs in on the speculation yesterday that Kroger (KR) could be interested in acquiring Whole Foods (WFM) for $40 per share. There are challenges that reduce the likelihood of a deal, and such a transaction could be uncharacteristic for Kroger, Concepcion tells investors in a research note. For one, the acquisition would be expensive, the analyst contends. And two, Kroger would have to lever up to 3.5 times net debt/EBITDA, he adds. The analyst keeps a Buy rating on Kroger with a $39 price target. Whole Foods yesterday closed up 5% to $29.33 amid the takeout rumor.
10/07/16
PIVT
10/07/16
NO CHANGE
PIVT
Whole Foods FY17 earnings risk not fully appreciated, says Pivotal Research
Pivotal Research said recent chatter involving Kroger (KR) and Whole Foods (WFM) follows a steady stream of bogus takeover rumors that seem to surface with little or no reasonable basis. The firm's analyst said this appears to be another head fake that distracts from core challenges facing Whole Foods ahead of 4Q16 results in early November and potential disappointing FY17 guidance. Pivotal said although Whole Foods multiple is not demanding, the extent of a FY17 earnings risk is not fully appreciated by the Street.
KR Kroger
$29.27

-0.1 (-0.34%)

09/12/16
WELS
09/12/16
NO CHANGE
WELS
Kroger long-term risk/reward positive, says Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo says that Kroger's revised EPS guidance should ease investors' concerns and limit the decline of the stock. Wells trimmed its valuation range on the stock to $37-$38 from $40-$41 based on the company's comp deceleration and its belief that Kroger may have difficulty generating EBIT growth in 2017. Nonetheless, the firm thinks that the stock's current valuation makes its long-term risk/reward ratio positive. It keeps an Outperform rating on the shares.
09/23/16
LEHM
09/23/16
INITIATION
Target $33
LEHM
Equal Weight
Kroger initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
Barclays analyst Karen Short started Kroger with an Equal Weight rating and $33 price target.

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