Amazon set for $13.7bn Whole Foods acquisition
Written by Chris Lemmon
E-commerce giant Amazon is taking its biggest step yet into the grocery market, purchasing Whole Foods in a $13.7 billion deal.
The proposed acquisition would be Amazon’s biggest investment to date. The deal, which values the supermarket at $42 a share, is expected to be completed in the second half of the year, pending approval from shareholders and anti-trust regulators.
Whole Foods was founded in Texas in 1978, and has grown to more than 460 stores in the US, Canada and the UK, employing around 87,000 people.
Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, 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.”
John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO, added: “This partnership presents an opportunity to maximise 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 announcement of the deal has raised questions on what it means for the retail industry in the UK and worldwide. Rupal Karia, head of commercial, UK and Ireland at Fujitsu, said: “This deal is clearly testament to the fact that shoppers still want a physical experience with retailers, and this caters perfectly to that.
“As consumers want to be able to shop with flexibility – sometimes online, sometimes in-store – and expect the experience to be seamless regardless of the channel they choose, this new deal caters to that need, marrying Amazon’s online expertise with Whole Food’s physical presence.”