Whole Foods customers react to $13.7 billion Amazon merger

Gwen Vasquez
June 19, 2017

Whole Foods stock jumped more than 30 percent to about $43 per share on Friday, following Amazon's announcement that it plans to acquire the high-end grocery chain in a deal valued at $13.7 billion.

The merger of Whole Foods and Amazon is expected to close later in 2017 after gaining approval from US regulators and Whole Foods' stockholders.

But Jana sure had good timing, and now they're poised to make about $300 million on a stake in Whole Foods (wfm) they had only disclosed in April, Reuters reports. "Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for almost four decades - they're doing an wonderful job and we want that to continue".

Amazon's deal to buy a U.S. grocery chain signals a significant threat to food retailers.

Amazon already has made inroads into the supermarket business with its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service and a prototype checkout-free Amazon Go brick-and-mortar store, so far only open to employees. News of the deal took a bite out of stocks at competitors such as Walmart and Kroger.

Amazon would also look to change Whole Foods' inventory, introducing its own private-label products to replace items deemed too expensive to have mass appeal, the person with knowledge of the matter said.

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Amazon is buying Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion.

A Whole Foods Market purchase awaits placement in a vehicle trunk, outside the Jackson, Miss., store Friday, June 16, 2017. Whole Foods, whose fleet of stores now numbers more than 430 locations, has found it hard to attract more mainstream consumers as Walmart and other large chains have stepped up their sales of natural and organic products.

With Whole Foods, Amazon gets an established business that it can transform through its technology and supply network expertise.

"I'm excited to see maybe if they do some kind of thing with Prime now and Whole Foods, that would be interesting to me", Hiddeman said. Her daughter Bethany Capels agrees and says she likes Whole Foods for the organic fruits she can serve her kids.

"We've become very comfortable with them (Amazon) as that online retailer, and this just puts them into that physical space, which is something that they've lacked up until this point", said food marketing expert John Scroggins of FoodChannel.com in Springfield. In the United Kingdom specifically, Amazon and Morrisons signed a deal past year. Bank of America Corp also provided financing to Amazon, while Evercore Partners Inc advised Whole Foods. The giant retailer sank $3.67, or 4.7 percent, to $75.24.

Whole Foods recently overhauled its board and redoubled cost-cutting efforts, seeking to change a high-price image that has tagged it with the nickname "Whole Paycheck". While both companies aren't headquartered here - check out Austin Inno for the deal's impact on Whole Foods' home base - the deal is certainly going to have an impact here and everywhere else across the country, if only due to their collective reach.

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