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Amazon to purchase Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

17 Juin 2017

Amazon could try to use automation and data analysis to draw more customers to stores while helping Whole Foods cut costs and perhaps prices.

Simon called Bezos' bid for Whole Foods "transformational" for the grocery segment and said that "Wal-Mart needs to watch their flank".

"It's going to send a shock wave across the board, and this represents the true utmost in market disruption", said Burns McKinney, chief investment officer with the Dallas investment team for Allianz Global Investors.

Mike von Massow, a food economics expert at the University of Guelph, says Amazon could use the 13 Whole Foods locations in Canada to provide more grocery delivery and pickup offerings or roll out its checkout-free grocery store concept tested in Seattle a year ago. It already operates AmazonFresh delivery service, and has indicated plans to launch in-store pick-up at Whole Foods.

"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", said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO, in a press statement. Last year, it dispatched senior bankers to several North American cities where big companies are based, including Atlanta, Toronto and Seattle.

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Others say it's too early to tell what Amazon will do with Whole Foods.

Consumers could also see more Whole Foods stores thanks to Amazon's financial might. Whole Foods has seen its sales slump and recently announced a board shake-up and cost-cutting plan amid pressure from activist investor Jana Partners. "Just the idea of moving further into the perishable and grocery business has the entire sector in a "sell first, ask questions later" mode".

"Dominant players like Walmart, Kroger, Costco and Target now have to look over their shoulders at the Amazon train coming down the tracks", O'Shea said.

Amazon is among the biggest name when it comes to the world of e-tail. The correct version of this report can be viewed at Whole Foods will keep operating stores under its name. You might soon be able to order groceries from these stores via Amazon Echo, and what more, a drone might even deliver them to you.

Recent reports also suggested that Amazon and BigBasket have entered into a 60-day exclusivity agreement. The hedge fund held 26,074,830 shares purchased at an aggregate price of about $794.5 million as of May 27, 2017, a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission showed.