Amazon to buy Whole Foods in multi-billion dollar deal

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 30, 2017, file photo, the Amazon logo is displayed at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. Amazon is offering a discounted rate on its Prime membership for people who receive government assistance. The discounted rate is $5.99 per month. The regular annual membership is $99 per year, or $8.25 a month. But those who cannot afford to pay up front have to pay $10.99 a month for the same benefits. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

SEATTLE (WSYX/WTTE) — Amazon announced a deal to acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion.

The online retailer said the two companies have entered a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction for $13.7 billion.

“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 founder and CEO, said in a 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.”

Whole Foods Market said they were also excited for the new opportunities the Amazon acquisition will offer.

“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.

Amazon said Whole Foods Market will continue to operate under the same name, and John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market. Their headquarters will also remain in Austin, Texas.

Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Whole Foods Market's shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions according to Amazon.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2017.

About six months ago, Amazon announced the results of a four-year plan for a no-line, no-checkout grocery-store-of-the-future made possible by artificial intelligence and high-tech computer vision. The app is called Amazon Go and currently only available to Amazon employees as part of an ongoing beta test.

Amazon's release announcing the Whole Foods deal makes no mention of weaving in the app's technology to the supermarket chain's existing brick-and-mortar locations.

This story will be updated.

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