Shares of Whole Foods Markets (WFM) were higher by 3.44% to $36.99 on Monday afternoon, following a report from the Financial Times noting that U.S. supermarket operator Albertsons is exploring a takeover of the grocery giant.

Albertsons is backed by a U.S. private equity group, which is said to have already had preliminary talks with bankers about making an offer for Whole Foods. About three years ago Albertson acquired Safeway (SWY) for $9 billion, and turned it into the third largest supermarket chain in terms of revenue.

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