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Amazon to buy Whole Foods chain for $13.7 billion

Amazon.com Inc. will buy Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion, bringing the e-commerce behemoth into hundreds of physical stores and achieving a long-held goal of selling more groceries. The sale was announced today.

Amazon agreed to pay $42 a share in cash for the organic-food chain, including debt. Whole Foods founder John Mackey will continue to run the business. Grocery chain stocks plunged on Friday because of the news in the tough retail food industry. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. stock fell 7.1 percent, and Kroger Co. dropped 17 percent.

After some Whole Foods customers expressed concerns about the sale on social media, the company sent out a letter telling shoppers that the grocery chain’s sale would not impact food quality.

“We want to assure you that Amazon shares Whole Foods Market’s deep commitment to quality and customer service,” the email reads. “We will continue to operate our stores and deliver the highest quality, delicious natural and organic products that you’ve come to love and trust from Whole Foods Market.”

The full letter:

Dear Valued Shopper,

Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Whole Foods Market’s history with the announcement that we’ve entered into an agreement to merge with Amazon.

Amazon is an innovative company and we are excited about our partnership. We believe it presents an incredible opportunity to take Whole Foods Market’s mission and purpose to new levels and will create significant value for our stakeholders – including you, our most loyal customers.

We want to assure you that Amazon shares Whole Foods Market’s deep commitment to quality and customer service. We will continue to operate our stores and deliver the highest quality, delicious natural and organic products that you’ve come to love and trust from Whole Foods Market.

No artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sweeteners or hydrogenated fats will ever be in any of the food we sell. Meat will still come from animals raised with no-added growth hormones, ever. And all eggs in our dairy cases will continue to come from cage-free hens that aren’t given antibiotics. Those standards are core to Whole Foods Market and we will remain committed to them.

Whether you’ve been a Whole Foodie for 30 days or 30 years, you have been an important part of making Whole Foods Market what it is today. We look forward to sharing the next chapter with you.

From,
Your Whole Foods Market Team

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • BL

    Contrary to what you are spouting, everyone at the Whole Foods in Princeton seems to be extremely happy to work there. On the other hand, when you go down the road to Shop Rite, you will not find nearly the same attitude.

  • Joe

    Well, isn’t that wonderful. One anti-union behemoth devours a much smaller niche anti-union business. These guys are always screaming about the wonders of the free market but they work overtime to crush the freedom of the workers to form unions. These giant corporations are anti-freedom at the work place. Any worker who questions or challenges management is shown the door. There is a war on unions in this country and the plutocrats are winning. In the 1950s the unionization rate was in the 30% – 35% range. Now, after more than 50 years of union busting, it is about 10.2%. Compare that to the Scandinavian countries where the unionization rate is 51% and up. Germany’s unionization rate is about 18% but it has works councils in which the workers sit at the same table as the board of directors and share in decision making. There’s no war on unions in those countries. Because of the decimation of unions, wages are stagnant, benefits are almost non existent and defined benefit pensions are long gone.

  • Robert Dana

    Don’t know much about the financial health or contingent liabilities of Whole Foods, but on its face, it seems like a good deal for both sides. Amazon’s logistical expertise is amazing. And, for certain demographics, Whole Foods appears to satisfy a demand. And then there’s that increasing (and disturbing) societal trend toward cocooning.

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