If you thought you were giving Amazon all your money before, just wait until you hear this. The online retailer will buy Whole Foods for a whopping $13.7 billion. If you’re counting stocks, that’s about $42 a share. According to Amazon, they close the all-cash deal later this year.
“This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO.
Whole Foods has been looking to “evolve,” according to Mackey, and before the sale’s announcement, he was pretty outspoken about against the idea of selling Whole Foods. He told Texas Monthly that their goal was always to get better, but their current owners were too greedy to appreciate that:
“We need to get better, and we’re doing that. But these guys just want to sell us, because they think they can make forty or fifty percent in a short period of time. They’re greedy bastards, and they’re putting a bunch of propaganda out there, trying to destroy my reputation and the reputation of Whole Foods, because it’s in their self-interest to do so.”
Amazon, founded in 1994, got into the grocery game itself a few years ago with the launch of Pantry and Amazon Fresh, its online-to-door grocery delivery service. In May, Amazon opened a pair of pick-up only grocery store locations, which allowed shoppers to still buy online, but pick up in person. The partnership sounds like it could marry the best of Whole Foods (all natural, cage-free, free range, real foods) with the best of Amazon (cheap prices, speedy delivery).
“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, said in the release. “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.”
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In an email to their customers, Whole Foods pledged their allegiance to their original mission to offer only the best:
No artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sweeteners or hydrogenated fats will ever be in any of the food we sell. Meat will still come from animals raised with no-added growth hormones, ever. And all eggs in our dairy cases will continue to come from cage-free hens that aren’t given antibiotics. Those standards are core to Whole Foods Market and we will remain committed to them.
According to Amazon, 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.
Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2017.