Amazon buying Whole Foods for $13.7billion

Amazon reached an agreement to acquire upscale USA grocer Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion, including debt, the companies announced Friday.

However, Whole Foods had been under pressure recently to find a buyer, according to Bloomberg, after activist investor Jana Partners LLC acquired a stake and began pushing for a deal.

Excluding debt, the deal is valued at $13.39 billion, based on 318.9 million diluted shares outstanding as of April 9. Co-founder John Mackey will stay on as chief executive and the headquarters will remain in Austin, Texas, where the chain was founded in 1978.

Amazon.com Inc. has officially entered the grocery business.

"Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for almost four decades", said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, adding, "they're doing an unbelievable job and we want that to continue".

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The sale, which has not yet been approved by Whole Foods shareholders, is expected to be concluded in the second half of 2017.

Whole Foods, which has about 87,000 employees in more than 460 stores worldwide, will continue to operate its stores under the Whole Foods Market brand in the deal.

Amazon's US-listed shares were up 2.5pc in morning trading, while Whole Foods shares skyrocketed 27pc.

In May, under pressure from Jana Partners, Whole Foods replaced five board members and its chief financial officer.

"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". That marks an 18 percent premium to Whole Foods' closing price on Thursday.

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