Big Buyout

Austin-based Whole Foods Market gets gobbled up by tech giant Amazon

Austin-based Whole Foods Market gets gobbled up by tech giant Amazon

Whole Foods Market flagship store in Austin
Amazon is buying Whole Foods Market for a whopping $13.7 billion. Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Austin's homegrown grocery chain Whole Foods Market is being acquired by Amazon, the tech giant announced Friday, June 16.

The Seattle-based tech company will acquire the Austin-based grocery chain in an all-cash deal valued at approximately $13.7 billion, including Whole Food's net debt. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2017, following approval from Whole Foods shareholders.

Operations are expected to remain the same. Co-founder John Mackey will stay on as CEO, the headquarters will remain in Austin, and the company will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand.

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

"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," echoes Mackey.

Whole Foods was founded in Austin in 1978. The chain boasted more than 460 stores in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom in 2016. The brand also launched 365 by Whole Foods Market in 2016, a lower-price concept designed to appeal to millennial shoppers. The Cedar Park location, the only in Texas, debuted to much fanfare in April 2017.