A Game Changer: Amazon Set to Buy Whole Foods for $13.7 Billion

By Sam Edem

Think of any global brand who over the last ten years or more has become quite accustomed to the word diversification and perhaps without a thought, Amazon comes to mind.

Launched on 5th July 1994 by the American technology entrepreneur, Jeff Bezos in his garage and later moved to Seattle – Washington, Amazon was floated originally as an online bookstore.

From just selling books online, it diversified to DVDs, Blu-rays, CDS, video downloads/streaming, audio books, MP3 among others.

Today, Amazon is the largest electronic or internet-based retail store in the world with an annual revenue over US$130 billion as at December 2016.

One would have thought that with such near-monopoly status of the online retail store market, Amazon would just stick with that like Kodak did with its pictures and Nokia with its non-android or smart phones, but the e-commerce giant has over the years proven to be robust in its approach to remain a leading global brand in the retail market.

Earlier, it had taken a step further in controlling its own deliveries by first hiring and later purchasing part of its air cargo fleets.

Now over the last few months, there have been a growing momentum within the Amazon community about its plans for a transition from the virtual store front to a real global grocery store.

The latest on this development is the company’s move to acquire one of America’s leading super markets – Whole Foods, for an estimated US$13.7billion.

In the wake of this hint, shares of other grocers in the United States have plummeted on the grounds that: if the deal sails through, Whole Foods’ probable new owner will bring on board its enormous patronage across the globe as well logistical capabilities which will facilitate deliveries at an incredibly quicker pace than currently known to the grocery market.

Established in 1978 in Texas, Whole Foods was a leader in the move towards natural and organic foods and has over the years, grown into a major global grocery brand with more than 460 stores in the US, Canada and the UK as well as an employee base of about 87,000 people.

Commenting on the move to BBC, Amazon’s Founder and CEO – Jeff Bezos said: “"Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy”.

He added that, "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".

The acquisition deal is expected to pull through latest by the close of the second half of 2017, subject to approval by shareholders and United States anti-trust regulators.

Finally, reacting to the proposed takeover of his company, Whole Foods’s CEO - John Mackey said, the "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”.