Amazon Acquires Whole Foods Market for $13.7 Billion
In a relatively brief press release posted to its investor relations website this morning, Amazon sent shockwaves through the grocery food industry. Jeff Bezos' company announced that it had entered into a definitive merger agreement with Whole Foods Market. Amazon will effectively acquire the food store chain for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction that's valued at $13.7 billion, including the company'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,” Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, said in the statement. “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 move by Amazon comes at a time that Whole Foods—ranked among the top 10 largest grocery chains in the country—has struggled mightily to remain relevant. It recently announced that it was abandoning a longtime goal of opening 1,200 stores in the U.S., and its comparable sales performance has been in the red for nearly two years running.