LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Amazon is placing a $13.7 billion bet on the future of high-end groceries.
The online retail giant is poised to acquire Whole Foods in an all-cash deal. Whole Foods is expected to continue operating under its current brand as a separate unit of Amazon, according to company officials.
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey will stay on to lead the grocer, which will remain based in Austin, Texas.
Amazon already operates a grocery delivery service called “Amazon Fresh”, but it’s unknown how the move will impact those operations.
“Amazon is known for value, so what we’re going to see is Whole Foods prices down,” said Phil Lempert, who is known as the supermarket guru. “Imagine that now when you want to buy something from Amazon, 50 billion different products, you can order them and then pick them up right at Whole Foods.”
Whole Foods started back in 1978 and now has nearly 500 stores around the country and in the UK.
“This is only going to help Amazon. It’s only going to help Whole Foods. It’s only going to help consumers,” said Lempert. “This is a win win for everybody.”
But not all Whole Foods shoppers are sold on the deal.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for the public because then Amazon owns everything,” Venice Whole Foods shopper Laura Manacek said.
Venice Whole Foods shopper Sarah Sprague echoed that sentiment, saying that she is a fan of Amazon and Whole Foods “but it’s really too bad that there’s not any competition.”
The sale still needs approval from Whole Foods shareholders, but the deal is expected to be wrapped up later this year.
News of the deal prompted comparisons on social media between the price of the acquisition and Whole Foods’ pricey reputation.