Austin-based health foods grocer Whole Foods Market is being acquired by online retail giant Amazon for more than $13 billion, the companies announced Friday.
The deal has Amazon acquiring Whole Foods at $42 per share, including their net debt; an all-cash deal valued at $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,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a written 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.”
The Whole Food headquarters will remain in downtown Austin, and John Mackey — one of the company’s co-founders — will remain as CEO. Whole Foods stores will continue to operate under the Whole Foods brand and will continue their renown health food sourcing practices.
Whole Foods recently opened one of their "365" brand stores in Cedar Park at The Parke shopping center. In a written statement, Whole Foods said, “No impacts will be made to the 365 store or the services provided by the company.”
"This game changing announcement is yet another example of the strong creative culture and talent throughout the Austin region that enables innovative businesses to start, grow, and attract a significant level of investment," said Mike Berman, senior vice president of communications for Austin Chamber of Commerce. "While this move will hopefully result in more opportunities for Austin, we can’t be complacent. To help Austin remain an attractive job generator, we need to stay focused on recruiting new headquarter companies, building venture capital, and helping small businesses grow.”
Last month, Mackey announced that the company needed to evolve and innovate — something the Amazon deal will likely now accomplish.
“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,” Mackey said.
The health food chain has more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom and employs approximately 87,000 people.
Whole Foods Market ranked No. 28 and Amazon ranked No. 2 on Fortune’s 2017 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies.”
This story was updated at 1:50 p.m. Friday, June 16 to include a statement by Mike Berman of the Austin Chamber of Commerce.