Amazon began its existence as an online entity that siphoned business away from brick-and-mortar stores, but there's only so much you can do online. Amazon has been tinkering with more real world services like Prime Now local deliveries and its experimental grocery store in Seattle. Now, Amazon is taking a shortcut to building out its own presence; it's buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Coincidentally, that's about what I spent the last time I went to Whole Foods.
The deal is all cash, valuing the high-end grocery chain at $42 per share, a sizable premium over the last closing value of $33 per share. Amazon expects to complete the acquisition later this year, but it's not swallowing up the brand. Whole Foods will continue operating, and the current CEO will remain at the helm.
There are more than 400 Whole Foods locations across the US, as well as a handful in Canada and the UK. These stores could be used to augment Amazon's online grocery and delivery services without the added cost of building new facilities everywhere. Maybe there will even be Whole Foods drone deliveries. Completely organic drones, of course.
Amazon to Acquire Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market ranked #28 and Amazon ranked #2 on Fortune’s 2017 list of World’s Most Admired Companies
SEATTLE & AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jun. 16, 2017-- Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $13.7 billion, including Whole Foods Market’s net debt.
“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “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.”
“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,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO.
Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from trusted vendors and partners around the world. John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market’s headquarters will stay in Austin, Texas.
Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Whole Foods Market's shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2017.