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Amazon to buy Whole Foods Market for $13.7bn

RBR Staff Writer Published 19 June 2017

Amazon has agreed to acquire US-based supermarket chain Whole Foods Market for about $13.7bn.

In a definitive merger agreement signed by the parties, Amazon has agreed to assume the net debt of the supermarket chain. The company will offer $42 per share to the Whole Foods Market shareholders.

A natural and organic foods supermarket chain comprising more than 460 stores in the US, Canada, and the UK, Whole Foods Market has a workforce of about 87,000.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said: “Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy.

“Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.”

Upon completion of the merger, Whole Foods Market will continue to operate its stores under the Whole Foods Market brand. The grocery chain’s sourcing from existing vendors and partners across the world will not be impacted by the merger.

Also, the parties have revealed that Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey will continue in his role while the present headquarters of the supermarket company in Austin, Texas will be retained.

Mackey said: “This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers.”

The merger is expected to be completed in the latter half of the current year after receipt of approval from Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and meeting of certain customary conditions.

Providing a backgrounder regarding the merger, NPD Food industry analysis vice president David Portalatin said: “Fresh foods are the final frontier for Amazon. And figuring out how to get it to your front door is the ultimate in convenience for consumers.

“In order for amazon to get the volume growth they are looking for, fresh foods has to be part of the equation. This deal gives them credibility with consumers and a major foothold in that space.”

Image: Whole Foods Market in Boston. Photo: courtesy of Marco Verch/Wikipedia.org.