Speculation swirled, investors pressured, and it looks like there’s a buyer for Whole Foods Market, but it’s not the grocery retailer you expected. It’s Amazon.
The companies issued a news release early Friday announcing a definitive merger agreement wherein Seattle-based Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market for $42 per share, an all-cash transaction valued at $13.7 billion.
“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, in a news release. “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want to continue.”
The release said Whole Foods will continue to operate stores under its brand, and “source from trusted vendors and partners around the world, with John Mackey continuing as CEO, and the headquarters remaining in Austin.
“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,” Mackey said, in a news release.
The deal is expected to close in late 2017.