Amazon has agreed to acquire upmarket grocer Whole Foods for $13.7bn in an all-cash transaction, making it the online retail giant’s largest acquisition ever.
The deal is part of Amazon’s ambitious plan to expand its presence in the US food and grocery sector – a $800bn industry. The online retailer has already made a push into the sector with its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service and has explored another grocery store concept that serves walk-in customers.
According to Amazon, Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores using the Whole Foods brand. John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market and the grocer’s headquarters will stay in Austin, Texas.
The transation is still subject to approval by shareholders of Whole Foods and other customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
The two companies expect the deal to close during the second half of this year.
After the deal was announced shares in Whole Foods surged by 28 percent, while Amazon stock rose by as much as 3.1 percent.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, 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.”
Organic food refers to food which has been prepared, created,or raised without artificial fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones, GMOs, etc.
John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO, commented:
“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.”