Amazon’s takeover bid of upmarket grocery chain Whole Foods Market has moved a step closer after the grocery chain’s shareholders and a US regulator approved the deal.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced yesterday it would not pursue its investigation into the merger, hours after Whole Foods said its shareholders voted in favour of the deal.
Bruce Hoffman, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said: “The FTC conducted an investigation of this proposed acquisition to determine whether it substantially lessened competition under Section 7 of the Clayton Act, or constituted an unfair method of competition under Section 5 of the FTC Act.
“Based on our investigation we have decided not to pursue this matter further. Of course, the FTC always has the ability to investigate anticompetitive conduct should such action be warranted.”
Whole Foods Market has a global reputation with industry-leading levels of product presentation and in-store theatre. In the fiscal year 2016, the company had sales of approximately US$16bn and has more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. There are nine stores in the UK, seven in London and further outlets in Cheltenham and Glasgow.
The definitive retail and business agreement under which Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market is worth $42 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $13.7bn , including Whole Foods Market’s net debt. Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from its usual supply partners. John Mackey will remain as ceo and the retailer’s headquarters will remain in Austin, Texas.
As a result of the approval from the FTC and Amazon shareholders, completion of the takeover transaction is expect to close later this year as planned.