Published: Thursday, August 24, 2017 @ 3:56 PM
By: Sebastian Herrera, Austin American-Statesman
— Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Austin-based Whole Foods Market will officially close on Monday, the companies said Thursday.
News of the closing date comes a day after Whole Foods shareholders voted to approve the deal, and the Federal Trade Commission said it would no longer be investigating the merger, which essentially cleared it to be closed.
Amazon’s impact will be immediately seen at Whole Foods, as the company said it will lower prices at the stores and integrate its Amazon Prime program.
"We're determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer. “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.”
Beginning Monday, prices for some of Whole Foods best-selling items, such as the Whole Trade bananas, organic avocados and organic eggs, will be lowered, the companies said.
Amazon Prime will also become Whole Foods’ customer rewards program sometime in the future, the companies said, showing that the e-commerce giant is looking to quickly integrate one of its most popular products into Whole Foods.
Beyond that, the companies said that “Amazon lockers” will be available in select Whole Foods stores, where customers will be able to have products shipped from Amazon.com to their local Whole Foods store.
“This is just the beginning,” the companies said in the announcement. “Amazon and Whole Foods Market plan to offer more in-store benefits and lower prices for customers over time as the two companies integrate logistics and point-of-sale and merchandising systems.”
Amazon and Whole Foods announced the agreement on June 16. The two companies began talks about two months before then after Whole Foods representatives first contacted Amazon.
Whole Foods shareholders are set to receive $42 per share in the sale. 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 has said it will keep the Whole Foods name on stores and retain CEO John Mackey.
"It's been our mission for 39 years at Whole Foods Market to bring the highest quality food to our customers," Mackey said. "By working together with Amazon and integrating in several key areas, we can lower prices and double down on that mission and reach more people with Whole Foods Market's high-quality, natural and organic food. As part of our commitment to quality, we'll continue to expand our efforts to support and promote local products and suppliers. We can't wait to start showing customers what's possible when Whole Foods Market and Amazon innovate together."