Online retail giant Amazon has announced that it has entered into a $13.7 billion deal to acquire Whole Foods Market. The merger agreement values the health food grocery chain at $42 per share.
“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.”
John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods with the company’s headquarters in Austin, Texas remaining unchanged. The companies expect the merger to close in the second half of 2017.
“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 Mackey.
Whole Foods has had a tough year so far when it comes to food safety. The grocery chain has issued 29 releases to date detailing product recalls due to contamination risks and undeclared allergens.
Amazon has been rumored to be investigating brick and mortar retail opportunities lately, after being a major online retailer for over two decades. Amazon has already ventured into the grocery market with AmazonFresh, its online grocery delivery service.
The US grocery industry is a substantial market worth an estimated $675 billion. The Amazon/Whole Foods merger is just the latest in a number of shakeups in the industry this year. Discount European grocery chain Aldi recently announced its plans to undergo a major expansion in the US in the next four years, with a goal of opening 2,500 new stores by 2022.