Amazon is buying Whole Foods for close to $13.7 billion, effectively merging two of the highest ranked companies by Fortune for being most admirable. Amazon ranks number two on this list, whereas Whole Foods Market ranks number 28. That’s not as high as Amazon, but it’s still a respectable ranking amidst all the possible companies that could be in the same ranked spot instead. The $13.7 Billion valuation is based on an amount of about $42 per share, though the acquisition is not yet finalized as it has only just been announced this morning. Amazon has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Whole Foods over the acquisition though, so the sale is mostly a done deal.
While this may open up an opportunity for Amazon to advance its own ambitions in the grocery space, such as using Whole Foods to begin piloting some more of its grocery store shopping experiences found in its Amazon GO Stores, there’s no guarantee that Amazon will choose to do anything of that nature as it hasn’t mentioned this would be part of its plans, and Amazon notes that much of the details with Whole Foods will see no change. The stores that Whole Foods currently operates will continue to operate under its own name and its current CEO, John Mackey, will stay CEO of the company. Headquarters will also stay in Austin, Texas and Amazon says that sourcing trusted vendors for the products that Whole Foods carries will be a continued practice as well.
Based on the information not much is changing, right now at least. Those who already shop at Whole Foods will continue to get the same service they always have and should be able to expect the same enjoyable experiences. That said, Amazon could very well have plans for Whole Foods at some point, it’s just not clear what the long game may be for Amazon with this deal. Of course, it’s always possible that Amazon merely wanted an easier way into the grocery market industry, and Whole Foods is already an established brand, so this acquisition does give Amazon a stronger foothold among other grocery shopping brands. Whole Foods already uses more advanced payment technology including Android Pay, so perhaps Amazon could use this deal to introduce even more technology-based interactions within Whole Foods stores. Whole Foods also has a working chat bot that users can interact with through Facebook’s Messenger service, so this could be potentially valuable information for Amazon as it would give them even more shopping-related data. Amazon’s announcement to buy Whole Foods comes on the heels of a rumor that it’s also looking into buying Slack, the popular workplace communication tool.