FTC clears Amazon's Whole Foods acquisition

Gladys Abbott
August 24, 2017

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in a Wednesday statement that the deal would not violate antitrust laws or result in creation of an anticompetitive market. Whole Foods shareholders gave their blessing to a union that its CEO had called "love at first sight". "Based on our investigation we have decided not to pursue this matter further".

The merger would combine Whole Foods' store network with Amazon's delivery expertise.

"The FTC must extend the review of the Amazon-Whole Foods merger to fully investigate the wide-ranging implication of this latest mega-merger", said Hauter.

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The deal could also harm independent organic and natural groceries and the innovative food manufacturers that have been delivering the healthier food that shoppers are increasingly demanding. Regulators tend to block deals when two direct competitors are combining, and Amazon - despite its dominance in the online marketplace - doesn't now have a big groceries business. Amazon has said Whole Foods stores will continue to operate under the same name as a separate unit of the company, and that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey will keep leading the brand from its headquarters in Austin, Texas. Amazon shareholders do not need to approve the deal.

Earlier this month, Amazon.com Inc. sold $16 billion of bonds in order to pay for Whole Foods.

The deal allows Amazon to leap into the food industry, an area that it has been experimenting with for years.

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