Organically grown at Whole Foods
You don't walk into your local Whole Foods
Whole Foods has updated its corporate code of conduct to prohibit high-level hires from participating in non-company Internet forums. The move became sadly necessary after CEO John Mackey was chastised for spending the past few years posting under the pseudonym of Rahodeb -- an anagram of his wife's name, Deborah -- on the Yahoo! personal finance forum.
I'm torn. Yes, it was an incredibly stupid thing for Mackey to do. The SEC had to scour through hundreds of his postings to make sure he didn't disclose inside information or try to influence share prices. The search came back clean, but Mackey's reputation wasn't as fortunate.
I mention that I'm torn because the Internet is supposed to be about leveling the playing field. This past week, Oprah Winfrey set up a page on Google's
OK, so maybe Oprah isn't playing fair. She's only allowing pre-approved comments and video responses. Her videos can't be embedded into other sites, the way nearly every other video on the site can. That's all right. It's a start.
The same can't be said for Whole Foods, which is now being vigilant to make sure that its leaders don't stray too far from the home base.
Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.
- Alibaba.com, China's leading website in hooking up importers with exporters, went public on Tuesday. The company closed out its first day of trading marked up to a whopping market cap of $25 billion. Stateside investors can't buy in yet -- not that they'll necessarily want to, now that the easy money has been made -- but some are buying Yahoo!
(NASDAQ:YHOO)as a play on Alibaba.com, since Yahoo! has a 39% stake in the parent company of the hot Chinese B2B site. Now if only Yahoo! could do something to get us excited about its business on this side of the planet.
- So much for the Gphone. The rumors of a Google-branded cell phone bit the dust after the company announced that it was actually working on a mobile software platform that would be made freely available to carriers and handset makers. This may wind up being even bigger than the Gphone vaporware. With dozens of big partners on board, Google is already striking fear in established platform providers such as Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT)or smartphone leaders such as Palm (NASDAQ:PALM)and BlackBerry parent Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM).
- In takeover news, Restoration Hardware
(NASDAQ:RSTO)accepted a buyout offer for $6.70 a share from a private-equity firm's affiliate. It may not seem like much, but it's a whopping 150% premium to where the stock was trading before the announcement. You've got to pity the shorts here. They did their homework. They found a company in a troubled retailing niche with gobs of debt and pesky losses. Rival Bombay had recently filed for bankruptcy protection. Right stock. Right sector. Lousy timing. This is why I haven't shorted a stock in a dozen years. Someone's junk can always become someone's buyout treasure.
Until next week, I remain,
Palm, Yahoo!, and Whole Foods Market are Stock Advisor newsletter recommendations. Microsoft is an Inside Value stock pick. If this weekend finds you hungry for stock picks, snag a 30-day trial subscription offer to either newsletter service.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.