Amazon to buy Whole Foods for $13.7bn

Amazon is to acquire supermarket chain Whole Foods in an all-cash deal worth 13.7 billion USA dollars (£10.7 billion), in the internet giant's biggest foray into the grocery sector to date.

The deal between Amazon and Whole Foods should close in the second half of the year.

The grocer will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand, both companies said.

Shares in listed British supermarkets tanked on news of the Whole Foods deal, which will likely see further competition in an already crowded sector. Amazon also offers grocery shipments elsewhere, but that's tough with perishable foods.

In May, under pressure from Jana Partners, Whole Foods replaced five board members and its chief financial officer.

Whole Foods Market, its directors and certain of its executive officers and employees may be deemed, under SEC rules, to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Whole Foods Market shareholders with respect to shareholder approval of the proposed acquisition of Whole Foods Market. Its locations can serve as delivery hubs for the company and its stores can stock merchandise that the online retailer's data shows will sell in that particular market.

In Whole Foods, it is acquiring a company that has recently come under pressure from investors for its lagging performance.

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In reaction to the news, shares of largely brick-and-mortar retailers already threatened by Amazon's dominance in e-commerce opened significantly lower in trading Friday.

  • Zachary Reyes