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Amazon to buy Whole Foods in $13.7bn deal

16 June 2017 National News

Amazon has agreed to buy upmarket food chain Whole Foods in a deal worth $13.7bn (£10.7bn).

The transaction will see the online retail giant swallow up a business with 460 stores in the US, Canada and the UK which enjoyed sales of $16bn (£12.5bn) in the 2016 financial year.

It prompted shares in UK supermarket chains to slide lower, with Tesco down 4%, Sainsbury’s dipping 3% and Morrisons more than 1% off.

Texas-based Whole Foods, which has nine UK stores mainly in London, will continue to operate under its own brand. It specialises in healthy and organic ranges.

Image: Amazon’s deal sees the online retailer expand its bricks and mortar presence

But the deal will be sen as a further encroachment by Amazon on the UK grocery sector’s turf after its delivery service Amazon Fresh, covering a limited areas, last year in a tie-up with Morrisons.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos said: “Whole Foods Market has been satsifying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and I want that to continue.”

Whole Foods, founded in 1978, describes itself as “America’s healthiest grocery store”.

Co-founder and chief executive John Mackey said: “This partnership presents an opportunity to maximise 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.”

The deal is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval and is expected to complete in the second half of 2017.

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