Amazon is buying Whole Foods, in a merger that values Whole Foods stock at $42 a share- a premium over the price of around $33 at the close of trading on thursday. The internet retailer says it’s buying the brick-and-mortar fixture in a deal that is valued as $13.7 billion.
Whole Foods, which opened its first store in Austin, Texas, back in 1980, now has 465 stores in North America and the Uk.
Amazon says that Whole Foods’ CEO, co-founder John Mackey, will remain in that role and that the grocer’s headquarters will still be in Austin.
“Whole Foods market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades”, said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, adding, “they are doing an amazing job and we want that to continue”.
In its news release, Amazon says Whole Foods stores will continue to operate under their own brand and will continue to source products “from trusted vendors and partners around the world”.
Whole Foods released its most recent earning report in May. At the time, Mackey said, “Our business is strong with record revenue of $15.7 billion, and over $1 billion in operating cash flow in 2016”.
Ultimately, Whole foods could end up as a cornerstone of a new Amazon retail empire, combining groceries, electronics and everything else Amazon sells, with a high-tech new shopping experience that works across in-person, delivery and pickup. It should be enough to have any retailer on the planet nervous.