Amazon.com Inc said on Friday it would buy U.S. organic supermarket chain Whole Foods Market Inc for $13.7 billion, including debt, marking the internet retailer’s largest deal and biggest foray into the brick-and-mortar retail sector.
Whole Foods recently had come under pressure from activist hedge fund Jana Partners LLC, prompting it to overhaul its board. The deal values Whole Foods at $42 per share. The shares were trading just under that level in early trading, while Amazon’s shares were up 0.9 percent at $997.41.
Excluding debt, the deal is valued at $13.39 billion, based on 318.9 million diluted shares outstanding as of April 9.
The grocer will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand, the companies said. John Mackey will continue as chief executive of Whole Foods, and the company’s headquarters will remain in Austin, Texas.
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