Seattle — Amazon.com, Inc. and Whole Foods Market, Inc. have entered into a definitive merger agreement in which the online giant will purchase the natural and organics grocer for an estimated $13.7 billion. Analysis firm Mergermarket notes it is the biggest deal in grocery retailing in the past decade the second largest in U.S. history.
The all-cash transaction will include acquiring Whole Foods net debt, Amazon reports.
Following closing, which is expected to occur during the second half of 2017, Whole Foods will continue to operate under its namesake banner, according to the online retailer. John Mackey will remain Whole Foods CEO and the grocer’s headquarters will stay in Austin, TX.
“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” says Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “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.”
Mergermarket reports that U.S. retail mergers and acquisitions have hit 53 deals this year worth some $23.4 billion, representing a 432 percent increase in terms of total deal value compared with the same period during 2016.