A multibillion-dollar deal might just change how you get groceries forever. On Friday morning, Amazon announced it was buying Whole Foods for approximately $13.7 billion. The deal is expected to officially close during the second half of the year.
"Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. "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."
Whole Foods stores will keep operating under the Whole Foods name, and they will keep sourcing their products as usual. CEO John Mackey will stay in his job and its headquarters will remain in Austin, Texas. According to Bloomberg, this the biggest deal Amazon has ever done; the second biggest was when they bought the streaming site Twitch for $970 million back in 2014.
Amazon has been trying to get in the grocery game for years now, and indeed does online grocery deliveries in many markets through Amazon Fresh. According to the Wall Street Journal, online stores like Amazon haven't quite been able to crack the grocery market, because customers generally like to pick out their own produce, and also because it's tough to deliver both fresh and frozen food to your doorstep. So the company buying Whole Foods may help with Amazon's distribution and delivery of food across the country.
As for now, it's unclear what this deal means for Amazon's prototype grocery stores. Previously, the company was working on Amazon Go, a grocery store where you just show up, grab food, and leave, no checkout line required. For now, a spokesperson says there are no plans to automate your cashier at Whole Foods.