Ralph Bigwig Eats His Oats

Is Ron Burkle Just Sewing His Wild Oats Or Is This A Marriage Worth Rooting For?

Billionaire grocer and Democratic Party donor Daddy, Ron Burkle, purchased 2.6 million shares or 9.2% of Wild Oats, and according to reports, may start issuing orders to the Oats Board of Directors.

Burkle, ranked by Fortune Magazine as 51st among the 400 wealthiest Americans has an estimated worth of $2.3 billion.

A quick calculation of the 19.8 million he spent on Oats stock reveals that Burkle’s purchase, in terms of his overall equity, is about the same as my decision last Friday to purchase three pieces of artisan cheese from the Cowgirl Creamery, two loaves of Acme olive bread, three bottles of Bonny Doon Big House Red, and, two half pints of marinated olives at San Francisco’s Ferry Building Market.  In other words, while this can’t hurt the value of Oats stock, don’t interpret Burkle’s move as a powerful vote of confidence for the future.  After all spending 0.8% of your assets isn’t the same as mortgaging the family farm for hopes of a better future.

The purchase, while viewed as friendly by the Oats PR team, may nonetheless have some folks at the slumping retailer wondering if it is time to get their resumes updated.


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