Amazon to Buy Whole Foods for $13.7 Billion: Will This Change How We Shop Locally?

Amazon to Buy Whole Foods for $13.7 Billion: Will This Change How We Shop Locally?
Courtesy of Whole Foods
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The way Miami shops for organic produce and almond milk might soon change drastically.

Today Amazon has agreed to purchase Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in cash. In a joint statement, the two giants announced they have entered into a "definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $13.7 billion, including Whole Foods Market’s net debt."

The transaction is expected to be finalized during the second half of 2017.

In the statement, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said that “millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy. 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 statement says Whole Foods Market will "continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from trusted vendors and partners around the world. John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market, and Whole Foods Market’s headquarters will stay in Austin, Texas."

Whole Foods Market continues to draw customers to its stores by offering local produce and vendors. In South Florida, the chain of upscale markets has forged a relationship with Jugofresh to host in-store dedicated mini-juice shops. The North Miami location hosts a weekly farmers' market in its parking lot. The market also launched an initiative to sell local lionfish in an effort to educate the public on the importance of the removal of this invasive predator from our waters.

It's not known whether an Amazon buyout would help or hurt a small business trying to break into the marketplace with shelf space at a local Whole Foods Market.

The buyout would also, presumably, affect Whole Foods' relationship with Instacart, which does enough delivery business with the chain that markets have dedicated shelves, coolers, and parking spaces for Instacart drivers. It's likely Amazon would take over the day-to-day delivery tasks — unless the company has set its sights on acquiring Instacart too. Coincidentally, the online delivery company was founded by former Amazon employee Apoorva Mehta.

Both Amazon and Bezos have a long history of buying companies. A Wikipedia page is dedicated to Amazon's corporate mergers and acquisitions from 1998 to the present. Bezos told Fortune he purchased the Washington Post with "no due diligence, and I did not negotiate with Don [Graham]. I just accepted the number he proposed."

With the Whole Foods Market purchase, Amazon is poised to have access to nearly every middle-class American household. Perhaps this tweet says it best: "I suppose in a few more years one can only shop at Amazon or Walmart."

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