Amazon has revealed plans to acquire specialist grocery chain Whole Foods Market in a deal valued at $13.7 billion (£10.7 billion).
The ecommerce giant said it would pay $42 a share for Texas-based grocer in an all-cash deal that includes the group‘s debt.
John Mackey will remain chief executive of Whole Foods — which trades in the UK with stores in London, Glasgow and Cheltanham — after the deal closes in the second half year.
The upmarket grocer will also continue to operate under same name.
“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 in a statement.
The imminent takeover escalates Amazon‘s bid to disrupt the grocery sector, especially in the US where Whole Foods has over 400 stores.
While Amazon is in the process of trialling its check-out free grocery store concept in the US and its AmazonFresh online grocery business is growing rapidly in the UK, the acquisition of Whole Foods would give the online retailer a significant boost in bricks-and-mortar grocery retail.