SEATTLE -- Online retail giant Amazon said it will acquire natural food chain Whole Foods Market Inc. for $42 a share in an all-cash transaction valued at about $13.7 billion, including Whole Food's net debt. The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2017.
John Mackey will remain chief executive of Whole Foods Market, which will keep its headquarters in Austin, TX, and operate as a subsidiary of Amazon.
"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 Amazon found and chief executive Jeff Bezos. "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."
The deal proves Amazon's increasing interest in moving into operating traditional brick-and-mortar stores and its growing focus on groceries. The company has its own delivery service, AmazonFresh, and is experimenting with Amazon Fresh Pickup in Seattle, through which customers buy groceries online and pick them up in person at a drive-up shop.
Meanwhile, Walmart seems to be following Amazon's lead in online grocery ordering with a different twist. It's testing an automated kiosk in the parking lot of one of its Oklahoma stores, where customers can pick up online grocery orders.