Amazon stumps up nearly $US14B for Whole Foods Market

Amazon stumps up nearly $US14B for Whole Foods Market

Online retail giant Amazon made a dramatic push into brick-and-mortar retail Friday with the almost $14 billion purchase of Austin-based organic grocery chain Whole Foods Market.

Pressure from activist investors got so high that Mackey told Texas Monthly magazine recently that "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".

The deal would give Amazon control of 430-plus U.S. Whole Foods stores, almost all of which are in neighborhoods more affluent and younger than America as a whole, noted David Portalatin, the NPD Group's vice president of food industry analysis.

Moody's lead retail analyst Charlie O'Shea said the deal could be "transformative, not just for food retail, but for retail in general".

Wal-Mart was just one of the many retailers whose stocks were impacted by the news that Amazon is acquiring Whole Foods.

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"This deal should leave no doubt that Amazon is deadly serious about dominating all aspects of retail", said Mr Paul Cuatrecasas, chief executive of Aquaa Partners, a London-based investment banking firm, in an e-mail. Amazon also offers grocery shipments elsewhere, but that's tough with perishable foods.

Amazon, meanwhile, has been expanding its reach in goods, services, and entertainment.

But it was Whole Foods that fell behind as shoppers found alternatives to the organic and natural foods it helped popularize since its founding in 1978. Whole Foods is courting the discount shopper with its lower cost brand 365.

Seattle-based natural foods co-op PCC Natural Markets has competed with both Whole Foods and Amazon for years and held its own, said Cate Hardy, PCC's CEO. Target tumbled by 10 percent and Walmart was down by 6 percent.

Here's a look at shares of Amazon and Whole Foods over the past year. The shopper's Amazon account gets automatically charged.

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"However they're going to use Whole Foods in their portfolio, you're going to see it here in Dallas", Cox said. Whole Foods doesn't have a similar footprint but it is popular in this more affluent areas that Amazon likes. "We can only imagine the technological innovation that Amazon will bring to the purchasing experience for the consumer".

The S&P 500's retail and food categories were hit particularly hard by the news - especially retail businesses who have expanded into the grocery realm in recent years.

"This might be an opportunity for consumers who have felt that Whole Foods is inaccessible", said Lauren Beitelspacher, a marketing professor at Babson College in MA. Many of them, including local Walmart locations in Springfield, offer curbside pickup, and other stores offer delivery services.

Amazon said that it won't change the Whole Foods Market brand and stores will continue to operate under the same brand name.

"This just gives them more options, and that's what consumers want". The stores could also showcase gadgets such as Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets.

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