Amazon to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

From CNET: Amazon is getting into the grocery business in a bigger way than anyone imagined.

The online retailer, which has spent the last few years toying around with experimental physical stores, said it had agreed to acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion, or $42 a share. The companies expect the deal to close in the second half of the year.

Whole Foods radically transforms Amazon, which has grown into a retailing juggernaut by undercutting rivals and primarily relying on its more efficient online business. It's helped kill of a myriad of physical retailers like Circuit City and Borders, and yet it's getting into that very business. By acquiring the grocery train, known for its upscale, healthy food, the online retailer will get 460 stores in the US, Canada and the UK.

"Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a press release.

Amazon isn't a stranger to groceries, offering its $300-a-year grocery service, AmazonFresh, in various cities around the country. The company has invested in various book stores, including opening one in New York.

Then there was Amazon Go, a concept grocery store with no staff and an automated check-out system. While just a single test store in Amazon's campus, the news was significant enough that the retail industry freaked out.

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