Amazon deal for Whole Foods wins regulatory, shareholder approvals

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On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission finally approved Amazon.com's AMZN acquisition of organic grocer Whole Foods Market WFM, ending an investigation to determine if the grocery deal would unfairly affect market competition.

Amazon's $13.7 billion acquisition of Austin-based Whole Foods Market will officially close on Monday, the companies said Thursday.

Amazon also said that it will start selling Whole Foods brand products on its website, a move that sent down shares of packaged food sellers such as Kellogg Co and General Mills Inc down roughly 3 percent.

Shares of grocery-store chains fell on the announcement.

Shares of Kroger closed 8.1 percent lower, Wal-Mart lost 2 percent, Target fell nearly 4 percent, Costco declined 5 percent, and Supervalu and Sprouts Farmers Markets each dropped more than 6.5 percent.

To help get shoppers through Whole Foods' doors, Amazon will install delivery lockers in some stores, which will allow its e-commerce customers to pick up or return ordered items at the grocery store.




The goal is to "make organic food more affordable for everyone". Amazon will pay Whole Foods shareholders $42 per share, marking an 18 percent premium from its stock price the day before the tie-up was announced on June 16.

- Whole Foods' private label items, such as those sold under 365 Everyday Value, Whole Paw, and Whole Catch, will be available on Amazon.com, Prime Pantry, AmazonFresh and Prime Now. "We will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market's long-held commitment to the highest standards".

The acquisition is Amazon's latest venture into the food and drink industry, following the introduction of its grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, in the United Kingdom past year.

Right now, the online giant is working on integrating its systems so that Amazon Prime becomes Whole Foods' first major customer rewards program.

Whole Foods once owned the natural and organic food market, but increasingly faced competition as mainstream grocers began to carry similar products at cheaper prices.

Whole Foods Market will continue to grow its team and create jobs in local communities as it opens new stores, hires new team members, and expands its support of local farmers and artisans. Shareholders of Amazon don't need to approve the deal.

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