Amazon Inks Its Biggest Deal, Buying Whole Foods for $13.7B

Amazon is buying Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion. Seen here is the Whole Foods store on Valencia Blvd. in Santa Clarita. Courtesy

(NASDAQ:WFM) in a deal valued at around $13.7 billion.

In a news release, Amazon said it would acquire the upscale supermarket chain for $42 a share in an all-cash transaction that includes that company's net debt, Efe news reported.

Whole Foods, a pioneer in organic products, as mentioned, started its business in 1978 in Austin, Texas, building its brand on healthy eating and fresh, local produce, though often with steep price points. It operates approximately 456 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. "Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for almost four decades - they're doing an unbelievable job and we want that to continue".

Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods Market sent the stocks of grocery store operators and other companies that compete with Whole Foods plunging Friday. (NASDAQ:WFM), shopping center REITs tumbled more than their peers in the real estate sector.

"Fresh foods are the final frontier for Amazon", Portalatin said. (NASDAQ:AMZN) "a launching pad not just for food but possibly drugs as well where customers aren't willing to wait even a day".

"We believe AMZN can work to transform the physical retail experience". It had previously announced plans to open a 1,800-square-foot store called Amazon Go in Seattle, Washington.

"If they actually, Amazon Prime, decides to deliver food to your home, boy that's great, it would be a wonderful thing!"

"The first thing Amazon is going to do in this acquisition is to remove all those third party vendor services".

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In October, reports surfaced that Amazon was planning to build its own grocery stores.

Almost $30 billion of market value disappeared Friday from grocery stocks.

The acquisition is expected to complete during the second half of 2017, subject to approval by Whole Foods Market's shareholders, regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions.

West Hartford resident Nancy Kennedy, 88, who stopped by the Whole Foods store to shop, said she does not go online because she's not familiar with digital technology. We spoke to food analyst David Portalatin of the NPD Group, a market research company.

"We believe it presents an incredible opportunity to take Whole Foods Market's mission and objective to new levels and will create significant value for our stakeholders - including you, our most loyal customers".

"We love Amazon, and we love Whole Foods". But today's development will bring it more than 430 retail locations across the country, a substantial base from which it can expand its empire into the physical realm.

Almost $1.5T: Amount spent by Americans on food in a year.

Since Whole Foods is a publicly traded company it could be scuttled if another bidder decides to offer a lot more money for the grocery chain.

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