- The Washington Times - Monday, June 19, 2017

Gobbling up Whole Foods is helping Amazon founder Jeff Bezos close the wealth gap with fellow billionaire and world’s richest man Bill Gates.

Thanks to a bump in stock value after the internet giant announced a buyout of the organic-grocery chain, Mr. Bezos is now just $5 billion short of overtaking the Microsoft founder as the wealthiest person in the world, CNNMoney reported Sunday.

Mr. Bezos’ net worth has bumped upward with the rise of Amazon’s stock in light of the Whole Food purchase announcement. 

Both Amazon and Whole Foods shareholders Monday are finding cause for celebration, with shares trading up, while warehouse chain Costco is taking a hit as Wall Street analysts foresee more Americans turning to delivery of groceries and essentials rather than making the trek out to warehouse clubs. 

On Monday, Deutsche Bank downgraded its Costco stock from a buy to a hold. Goldman Sachs had already made a similar re-evaluation on Friday.

“The Whole Foods Market acquisition represents a game changer with Costco’s competitive advantage in grocery under greater threat while its digital platform lags peers, putting membership renewal at risk for decline,” Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussell told his clients Monday, CNBC reported. “The pipeline of positive catalysts has played out and the competitive backdrop is intensifying with Amazon & Wal-Mart accelerating in-store and online efforts and innovation.”

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