Amazon has moved heavily into the grocery delivery business, offering food through its AmazonFresh service. Whole Foods will still operate stores under its name and will continue to be headquartered in Austin, Texas. CEO John Mackey will also retain his job.
It’s the most Amazon has ever shelled out for a company, topping the $1.7 billion it spent to buy shoe and clothing retailer Zappos in 2009.
“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “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.”
Shares of Amazon were trading at $988.52 in pre-market trading, a 2.53% jump, while Whole Foods shares were down 6.74% at $33.06. News of the deal took a bite out of stocks at competitors such as Walmart and Kroger.
The deal still needs to gain regulatory approvals and is subject to a Whole Foods shareholders vote. The companies said they expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2017.