Whole Foods shareholders approve acquisition by Amazon

Updated 2017-08-24 10:03:30 Xinhua

Organic grocery chain Whole Foods Market said Wednesday that the shareholders had approved its 13.7 billion U.S. dollars acquisition by e-commerce giant Amazon.

Two companies expect to close the deal before the end of this year. The 13.7-billion-U.S.-dollar deal marks the biggest one in retail industry this year.

Given Amazon's shareholders don't need to sign off the deal, the acquisition now is subject to regulatory approval.

Initially an online bookstore as it was launched in 1994, Amazon stands now as the most valuable retailer in the U.S. by market capitalization.

Backed by its express delivery network, it has entered the U.S. grocery market with limited success through its online platform in recent years under a brand name known as AmazonFresh.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods was founded in 1978 and now has more than 460 stores with about 87,000 employees in the United States, Canada and Britain.

John Mackey, Whole Foods co-founder and CEO, said in June that "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."

The deal might also give Amazon an upper hand in its competition with Walmart, as the online commerce giant has been pushing to expand its brick and mortar businesses.

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