Amazon to purchase Whole Foods for US$13.7 billion

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      E-commerce giant Amazon announced today that it will be acquiring supermarket chain Whole Foods for US$27 per share, or approximately US$13.7 billion in cash.

      Whole Foods—known for its natural and organic grocery choices—currently operates more than 460 stores in the U.S. and the U.K., including 13 locations across Canada (with four in Vancouver).

      The high-end American grocer is planning to operate its network of stores under the same brand, and maintain its current executive team.

      This gigantic transaction is expected to close during the second half of the year.

      Although Amazon is best recognized for its online purchasing platform, it has dabbled in brick-and-mortar stores in recent years.

      It has opened up six retail book stores since 2015, as well as Amazon Go in Seattle—a checkout and cashier-free supermarket (currently only available to Amazon employees) that automatically charges a customer’s Amazon account after they finish shopping. 

      In terms of other experience in the food industry, the online retail company has a subsidiary called AmazonFresh—a grocery delivery service available in some U.S. states and London, U.K.

      “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, in a press statement. “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, in a press statement.

      Both Whole Foods and Amazon’s stock shares have risen since the announcement of the deal.