The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found no grounds to prevent Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods, the agency said on Wednesday. Its official investigation of the deal is hence concluded and no other regulators in the country are likely to try and prevent the transaction from happening in the coming months, though the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) still has to approve the acquisition. The Seattle, Washington-based tech giant originally announced its intention to purchase Whole Foods in June, with the company stating that it reached an agreement with the organic food supermarket chain to acquire the company for $13.7 billion. The deal is expected to be officially concluded by the end of the year, Amazon previously said.
As part of its probe into the takeover, the FTC recently investigated allegations of Amazon resorting to misleading discounting, with one consumer protection group claiming that its reference prices listed for many of its goods aren't reflective of their actual costs prior to the supposed discounts that the company is offering. The FTC didn't specifically comment on the matter while announcing that it decided to approve the Whole Foods deal but with that probe being part of the larger antitrust investigation of the transaction, it's understood that those charges were also dismissed by the federal agency. The FTC reminded the general public that it always has the option of acting against what it deems is anti-competitive behavior, should Amazon resort to such practices after it officially adds Whole Foods to its corporate family.
The company recently announced its plan to sell a large volume of unsecured notes in an effort to fund its acquisition of Whole Foods which will be financed with a number of bridge loans in the short term which are ultimately set to be paid off with the cash the company raises from foreign investors and qualified institutional buyers in the U.S. The fact that Amazon isn't financing the deal with its cash reserves despite being able to do so suggests that the firm is planning to complete more major acquisitions in the medium term, some industry watchers believe.