In a sudden turn of events, Amazon is bulking up on its offline presence with the acquisition of widely popular organic supermarket chain — Whole Foods Market Inc. The American e-commerce giant has agreed to shell out $42 per share to buy out Whole Foods in an all-cash transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2017.

This development was first reported by Bloomberg but has now been confirmed by the company through an official statement. The $42 share price values the leading natural and organic supermarket (physical) chain at close to $13.7 billion. The company has been trading publicly since 1992 but has been lurking around the $33 mark for the past few years. This means Amazon is ready to pay the 27 percent premium on the company’s previous closing price to take the fight back to Wal-Mart.

This means Amazon is ready to shell out the 27 percent premium on Whole Foods’ previous day closing price to take the fight back to Wal-Mart. It seems the e-commerce giant has finally decided not to build its own brick-and-mortar presence across the country from scratch. It has instead decided to leverage Whole Foods’ extensive network of close to 465 stores in the United States to build out its ambitious AmazonFresh Pickup and other related consumer efforts.

Commenting on the transaction, Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO in a statement said:

Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eathealthy. Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.

Under this merger deal, as announced in the press statement, Amazon will not be gulping up the Whole Foods brand under its own. It’s been decided that supermarkets across the nation will continue to operate independently under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from trusted vendors and partners around the world.

John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO will continue to lead the supermarket chain, while it continues to remain headquartered in Texas. He comments on the acquisition as under:

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.

Based out of Austin, Whole Foods was founded way back in 1978 and is recognized as the first national “Certified Organic” grocer in the United States. The company is known to place its supermarkets in especially affluent areas of any city and is uniquely positioned as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. The press statement further claims that Whole Foods has a massive team of 87,000 members and completed sales of around $16 billion in the previous fiscal year.

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