Online giant Amazon and Whole Foods Market have entered into a definitive merger agreement.
Under the deal, 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.
Amazon founder and ceo Jeff Bezos said: “Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy.
“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.
Whole Foods Market co-founder and ceo John Mackey commented: “This partnership presents an opportunity to maximise 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.”
Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from vendors and partners around the world. John Mackey will remain as ceo and its headquarters will stay at Austin in Texas.
The business was founded in 1978 and bills itself as ‘the leading natural and organic foods supermarket, the first national ‘Certified Organic’ grocer, and uniquely positioned as ‘America’s Healthiest Grocery Store’’.
In fiscal year 2016, the company had sales of approximately $16 billion. It operates more than 460 stores in the US, Canada, and the UK, employs approximately 87,000 staff and has been ranked for 20 consecutive years as one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ in America by ‘Fortune’ magazine.
Amazon will now have nine supermarkets in the UK – six of which are London-based: Camden, Clapham Junction, Fulham, Kensington, Piccadilly Circus and Stoke Newington. The other three are in Cheltenham (Gloucestershire) and Giffnock (Glasgow) and Richmond (Surrey).
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.