In a move that positions the company as an upscale, natural food leader and provides broad on-the-ground market presence in the U.S., Amazon.com is acquiring Whole Foods Market for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $13.7 billion.
As part of Amazon, Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under its namesake brand and source from vendors and partners around the world, the companies said in a joint statement. John Mackey will continue as Whole Foods Market CEO and the grocery operator’s headquarters will remain in Austin, TX.
Whole Foods has been experiencing declining revenue growth as competition in the gourmet and natural/organic food segments has intensified, but the Amazon deal will provide a convenience edge as the grocery store operator will have more ways to reach consumers through the e-tailer.
“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.”
Mackey said, “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.”
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.
Whole Foods Market operates more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.