Today's WSJ reports that from 1999 to mid-2006, John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods surreptitiously posted about Wild Oats on the Yahoo stock market forum. Mackey posted under the name of "Rahodeb," an anagram of Deborah, his wife's name. "Why would anyone want to buy the company," he wrote, and noted that Wild Oats management "clearly doesn't know what it is doing .... OATS has no value and no future."
"Rahodeb" even defended Mackey's haircut when another user posted a mean comment about the CEO's photo, reports the WSJ. "I like Mackey's haircut," Rahodeb said. "I think he looks cute!"
Mackey has responded on the Whole Foods web site, explaining he did it "because it was fun." He also wrote: "The FTC discovered my identity as rahodeb through one of the millions of litigation documents that Whole Foods provided to them. They are quoting rahodeb in some of their legal documents and no doubt seek to embarrass both me and Whole Foods through these disclosures."
Whole Foods is trying to purchase Wild Oats for $565 million, but the FTC is trying to block the sale and those "fun" postings may turn out to be illegal. The Burbank horses are snickering.
· Whole Foods Is Hot,Wild Oats a Dud --So Said 'Rahodeb' [WSJ]