Jana Partners Takes Stakes in Sprouts, Blue Apron

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Groceries

NEW YORK — Jana Partners, the activist hedge fund that propelled Whole Foods Market into the arms of Amazon.com, has taken stakes in meal kit delivery company Blue Apron and natural foods grocer Sprouts Farmers Market.

In a filing on Monday reported by Bloomberg, Jana Partners revealed it holds 600,000 shares, 2%, of Blue Apron as of June 30. It also purchased about 593,000 shares of Sprouts. Both stocks have been trading at opportunistic levels. Blue Apron stock has lost nearly half its value since going public and Sprouts has been selling for half its 2013 value.

The filing also showed Jana exited its entire Whole Foods position, and walked away with about $300 million on its investment after Amazon.com agreed to acquire the company for $13.7 billion.

Blue Apron co-founder and COO Matt Wadiak stepped down from the meal kit company last month and the company announced it is closing one of its plants.

Sprouts, meanwhile, is the retailer named as most likely to be acquired next or to be an acquirer of other regional stores. It has expanded its own two-hour online delivery relationship with Amazon.

Published on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 8/15/17

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