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Amazon to buy Whole Foods Market in deal valued at $13.7 billion

17 June 2017

Tech analyst Shana Glenzer explains why Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods was an opportunity to get ahead of the competition.

The fate of Instacart became a frequently asked question in the wake of the deal's announcement, as industry watchers pondered how Amazon would integrate Whole Foods into its own online commerce and delivery infrastructure.

Some analysts on Wall Street see the acquisition as the online retailer's big entry into the food business. It announced Friday that it's buying online men's clothing retailer Bonobos for $310 million, following a string of online acquisitions including ModCloth and Moosejaw.

Amazon, meanwhile, has been expanding its reach in goods, services, and entertainment.

Amazon to buy Whole Foods in $13.7 billion deal
The supermarket sector got even more crowded on Thursday, when Germany-based discount chain Lidl opened its first 10 US stores. Similarly, Instacart was not privy to the news that Amazon was acquiring Whole Foods until the deal became public on Friday.

John Mackie, Whole Foods' CEO and co-founder, stressed the benefits of the sale to the company's shareholders, who still have to approve the deal.

Amazon has tested grocery stores of its own and also offers Prime Fresh, a $299-a-year grocery delivery service.

Amazon's ownership will also likely result in lower prices at Whole Foods, whose expensive products earned it the nickname "Whole Paycheck". The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2017, but is subject to approval by Whole Foods Market's shareholders, regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions. At the time, sources said that the deal had some exclusivity around the delivery of perishables, which perhaps means there's an opening for Amazon to take over delivery of packaged goods and prepared foods. Whole Foods will keep operating stores under its name. It had previously announced plans to open a 1,800-square-foot store called Amazon Go in Seattle, Washington.

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The damage didn't stop there: Food companies themselves, like Hershey and Campbell Soup, also slumped because of investor concerns that Amazon will do for their products what it does for everything else - cut prices ruthlessly. Earlier this year, Oppenheimer valued Whole Foods in the mid $40-range in a possible buyout.

In the short-term, said von Massow, it's unlikely Amazon will steal customers from other Canadian grocers.

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now. and Amazon wasn't one of them! National retail giants like Walmart, Costco, and Target have fought hard to be a part of this new market, adding organic food sections or increasing the amount of organic food brands offered. Their initial reaction - bidding up share prices of the two companies and selling off those of grocery chains - suggests a bleak future for an industry being reshaped by on-demand delivery. That should benefit Whole Foods as it tries to return to sales growth. Today that changed: "Amazon has moved squarely onto the turf of traditional supermarkets and poses a much more significant threat".

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