Amazon has announced it will acquire upmarket grocer, Whole Foods Market Inc, for $13.7 billion in a deal that includes the company's debt. Expected to close late 2017, the deal will not only be the largest in the online retailer’s history, but also a major step in expanding into bricks-and-mortar retail.
Founded in 1978 in Texas, Whole Foods Market has been a pioneer of natural and organic foods, and, today, boasts more than 460 stores throughout the US, Canada, and the UK that employ approximately 87,000 staff.
In anticipation of the announcement, the company's closing share price showed a 27 per cent premium. Excluding the debt, the acquisition is valued at $13.39 billion, with $318.9 million diluted shares outstanding from April.
The megadeal will no doubt give Whole Foods Market a major advantage over its competitors due to Amazon’s established online presence and strong buying power.
Whole Foods Market Boss, John Mackey, said: "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."
Amazon Founder and Chief Executive, 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."
The grocer is expected to continue to trade under the Whole Foods Market banner, with John Mackey remaining its Chief Executive.
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