Seattle-Washington-based Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) agreed to acquire Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market Inc. (NASDAQ: W FM) for $42 per share in an all-cash deal valued at $13.7 billion including debt, creating an e-commerce and brick and mortar powerhouse.
Founded in 1978, Whole Foods Market is America’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket, with 87,000 employees. In 2016, the company had sales of $16 billion and has more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
“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.
The deal “unites two maverick businessmen who will now have to blend very distinct approaches to make the deal a success,” said The Wall Street Journal.
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.
“Amazon expects to reduce headcount and change inventory to lower prices and make Whole Foods competitive with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other big-box retailers,” according to Bloomberg.
The deal is expected to close during the second half of 2017, subject to approval by Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.