Amazon to buy Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion

The deal marks online retail giant's entry into brick and mortar space

Amazon to buy Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion

Amazon, the Seattle-based online retail giant, on Friday, announced its entry into the brick and mortar grocery space by acquiring natural and organic foods supermarket chain Whole Foods Market in an all-cash deal valued at $13.7 billion.

The Austin-based Whole Foods stock is valued at $42 per share and Amazon is ready to give 27% premium over its Thursday closing stock price.

According to an ecommerce analyst, Whole Foods acquisition is the biggest acquisition in Amazon history. “It gives Amazon access to 460 high-end brick-and-mortar stores across the US, in Canada and in the UK,” said the analyst.

In a statement issued on Friday, 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 healthily.
 
“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,” he said.

As per the deal, Amazon will retain Whole Foods brand and its current CEO John Mackey will remain at the company’s existing Austin headquarters. Whole Foods is a leading natural and organic foods supermarket and the first national “Certified Organic” grocer in the US.

Whole Foods Market, which started its operation in 1978, is not performing well for the past two years with heightened competition from Wal-Mart, Costco Wholesale, Trader Joe’s and other local grocers.

Amazon, which recently started experimenting with offline stores by opening bookstores and small grocery, has made it very clear by its Whole Foods Market acquisition that the company is very ambitious on its game plan to enter into physical retail.

“Even though Amazon operation has really disrupted the operation of millions of brick-and-mortar stores across the globe, the company is ready to get into physical stores to take more pie in retailing to reduce the cost of storage and give consumers an opportunity to feel the product,” an analyst told DH.

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