On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission finally approved Amazon.com's AMZN acquisition of organic grocer Whole Foods Market WFM, ending an investigation to determine if the grocery deal would unfairly affect market competition.
Some grocery store stocks fell after the news. The Kroger Co. dropped almost 8 per cent. Target, Costco and Supervalu all fell about 4 per cent. Walmart, which has the largest share of the USA grocery market, was off 2 per cent. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which sells the most groceries in the USA, also dropped 0.8 percent. Slated for cost reduction are bananas, organic avocados, baby kale, Fuji apples and brown eggs; "responsibly farmed" salmon and tilapia; "animal-welfare-rated 85 percent lean ground beef" and "much more", Amazon said.
The Amazon-Whole Foods merger is expected to close during the second half of 2017.
Inc.'s proposed $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market Inc. won quick US antitrust approval, showing that concerns in Washington about the growing power of technology companies weren't enough to derail the online retailer's biggest-ever acquisition. This will allow customers to order products via Amazon online and have them delivered to a Whole Foods store for pick up. "Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality - we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market's long-held commitment to the highest standards", says Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke. Whole Foods, meanwhile, had been under intense shareholder pressure to improve results and retain customers who have more choices about where to get natural foods. "Its shareholders are agnostic about profit, and seem more interested revenue and market share".
Amazon.com will gain ownership of Whole Foods' more than 460 stores, as well as add the grocer's roughly 87,000 employees to its workforce.
"Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods will expand its dominance and heighten conflicts of interest", wrote Lina M. Khan, a legal fellow with the Open Markets Program at New America, a consumer watchdog group.
Whole Foods has struggled for the past few years to grow sales.
Right now, the online giant is working on integrating its systems so that Amazon Prime becomes Whole Foods' first major customer rewards program.
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